Football is arguably the most watched sport in the world. Rising to top the ranks includes being part of a top team, and performing well enough to earn your place in the starting 11. Some players have done this amazingly well that it translates to a paycheck with enough zeros.
While it is no secret that footballers make big bucks, their work on the field determines how much they earn. With the entry of such talent as Paul Pogba and Gareth Bale, the top 10 richest football players list will, in the near future, feature some new faces. For now, here are the top 10 richest footballers in the world as of 2018.
10. Frank Lampard – ($87 million)
Frank Lampard’s name is synonymous with Chelsea Football Club. Currently, at New York City FC, Lampard started his career at Westham United where his late father is regarded as club legend. Lampard became a high profile player at Chelsea where he left as the club’s leading goal scorer. On loan at Manchester City in the 2014/2015 season, Lampard came back to haunt his former club Chelsea by scoring an equalizer for Manchester City in a Barclays Premier League match. No love found between him and Chelsea fans though; he got a standing ovation from both sets of fans at the end of the match.
9. Raul Gonzalez– Net Worth: ($93 million)
Spanish footballer Raul Gonzalez currently plays his football for the New York Cosmos. His long term relationship with Spanish giants Real Madrid made him the club’ leading goal scorer with 323 goals, a record broken by Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal) during the 2014/2015 season. He recently announced he still has years left on the pitch and boy isn’t he a marvel to watch?
8. Ronaldinho Gaucho – ($95 million)
Currently at Mexican club Queretaro, two-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho is a fan favorite, especially in Europe. His quick feet and trickery when on the ball led to successful stints at FC Barcelona, Inter Milan, and AC Milan. On the ball he can pierce through defenders with minimum effort and is also a dead ball specialist. The 36-year old has played alongside Brazilian living legends Ronaldo, Ricardo Kaka, Roberto Carlos and Cafu, lifting the trophy together in 2002.
7. Samuel Eto’o – Net Worth: ($95 million)
Samuel Eto’o currently plays for Antalyaspor as a striker. He is arguably the best striker from Africa and it is not hard to see why. He was once the best-paid striker in the world thanks to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala earning a whopping after-tax annual income of $25 million. He has graced almost every major tournament and league including the World Cup with Cameroon, the UEFA Champions League, Serie A (Inter Milan), English Premier League (Chelsea and Everton) and La Liga (Barcelona). He is an amazing finisher on the pitch and a philanthropist cum ethnic diversity activist off the pitch.
6. Ricardo Kaka – Net Worth: ($105 million)
Currently at MLS side Orlando City, Ricardo Kaka is a Brazilian attacking midfielder. Combining flair, skill and precision, he is a football marvel and a Real Madrid and AC Milan legend. His career pivoted at AC Milan, winning the Champions League with the club once. He rakes in a cool $7.2 million in Orlando every year. He has won FIFA player of the year, and also the World Cup. The winger’s signature skills include dribbling with enormous speed, breaking down defensive walls with deadly free kicks and a precise finisher.
5. Wayne Rooney – Net Worth: ($112 million)
Celebrated England striker and Wayne Rooney needs no introduction. Current captain of his national side and also Manchester United, Rooney, a former Everton FC was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson for ₤25.6 back in 2004 to Manchester and the rest is history. The gifted United forward has made a name for himself both on and off the field. After Ferguson left, his dwindling form has been a concern ever since, drawing huge criticism from fans and managers alike. The England number 10 recently stated his international career is far from over and hopes to play in the 2020 FIFA World Cup.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Net Worth: ($114 million)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the current starting striker for English side Manchester United, joining them on a free transfer from French giants Paris St Germain. The towering finisher is known for his explosive drives and powerful finishes in front of goal. He once scored an overhead kick from mid-pitch against England. His most successful club stint was at Inter Milan (Italy) joining them on a four-year deal and a transfer fee of €24.8 million. He has also played for Barcelona. He is the best paid English Premier League player $350,000 per week) alongside Paul Pogba. He is also a martial arts expert.
3. Neymar da Silva Dos Santos Jr. – Net Worth: ($148 million)
FC Barcelona forward Neymar is the current Brazil national team captain. He has scored 43 goals in 62 matches for the national side and he is on course to clinch the record. He was named SportsPro most attractive sportsman on the planet in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, he earned $33.6 million (Forbes), but is currently being investigated for fraud and corruption related to his transfer to Barcelona. He currently earns 9.8 million EUR per year not including multi-million dollar endorsements and bonuses.
2. Lionel Messi – Net Worth: ($218 million)
‘’The football messiah’’ Lionel Messi is arguably the best football player on the planet. Talk about Maradona or Pele and the name Messi will just come naturally. The 29-year-old Argentine captain of the national side, is yet to win a trophy for the country (apart from the Olympic gold in Bejing, 2008), the only blemish in an otherwise perfect career. He is a graduate of the FC Barcelona Football Academy and has been playing for FC Barcelona ever since. He is a five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, the only player in history to win five. His trophy collection includes six La Ligas, two Spanish Super Cups, two Club World cup trophies and two UEFA Super Cups. Messi has earned 40 million EUR in 2016 alone.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Net Worth: ($280 million)
Christiano Ronaldo, generously compensated by the richest football team on the planet, is the current richest footballer in the world 2018. Ronaldo’s Ream Madrid contract is in the region of $23 million every year. He made $80 million last year. He started off at Sporting Lisbon before Sir Alex Ferguson signed him. At Manchester United he became an instant hit, drawing interests from top clubs in Spain, and eventually ended up at Real Madrid for a then record transfer fee worth €94 million. He is a three-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner. He has patented the tag ‘’CR7”, that is his initials and his jersey number, and built an investment brand of the same name. He endorses huge brands including Nike, Motorola, Fly Emirates, Armani and Tag Heuer. In his hometown in Funchal, Portugal, a museum was started in his honor and displays some of his personal football trophies memorabilia and souvenirs.
These above are the Top 10 Richest Football Players in The World. Apart from Rooney and Lampard, all the other players on the list have or are still playing, for either Barcelona or Real Madrid, making the two clubs the dream landing for any football player. While the big money is in Spain, English Premier League remains the most coveted league in club football and the UEFA Champions League remains the most prestigious club competition in Europe. Let’s just say if you happen to win the Champions League, you will have accumulated a total $40 Million, as a team.