Professional football is a lucrative business in 2022, and the 10 highest-paid players on the planet – who play for clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool – are getting huge sums in terms of wages and sponsorship deals.
The salaries of footballers at the end of the game have risen dramatically in recent years, especially after multinational corporations, oligarchs and oil states entered the arena as club owners.
Players have also taken advantage of the game’s popularity to sign big endorsement deals, which in a few cases can earn them nearly as much as their salary.
Here, we take a look at the 10 highest-earning football stars on the planet in 2022, with figures from Sportico’s Kurt Badenhausen*, an expert on the earnings of professional athletes. Note: In keeping with Sportico numbers, we use the US dollar as the currency.
10. Antoine Griezmann – $27.5 million (22 million salary, $5.5 million confirmations)
Griezmann is in a very strange situation at the moment.
A clause in the contract that Atletico signed to bring him back from Barcelona on loan states that if he plays more than half of the matches he was available to during the full two-year loan period, Atletico will be obligated to pay €40m for the signing. him permanently. This paragraph also defines playing the game as playing for 45 minutes or more.
As such, Atletico are only posting him for about half an hour plus added time in their matches this season and are trying to renegotiate the condition with Barcelona at the same time.
Very unfortunate for Griezmann, but he’s still amassing his $22m salary and will be new to France’s defense of their world title in Qatar, so we shouldn’t think he’s crying for himself to sleep at night.
9. Kevin De Bruyne – $29 million (25.5 million salary, $3.5 million)
De Bruyne has almost certainly been the highest paid league player in the world over the past five seasons and plays for a club owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family, so it would be strange if he wasn’t in the top ten.
– Manchester City (@ManCity) August 21 2022
8. Raheem Sterling – $29.4 million ($21.4 million salary, $8 million confirmations)
While Sterling hasn’t been earning as much as De Bruyne at Man City and still isn’t at his new club Chelsea, his marketing ability puts him ahead of the Belgian here.
Sterling has great deals with New Balance for his shoes and with Apple for all his tech needs, while anyone reading this in the UK will surely see England’s international standing in a green neon tunnel and encourage them to shave in a half-time ad break at some point.
7. Andres Iniesta – $30 million ($23 million, $7 million)
This shocked us a little. But the little guy is big in Japan.
The former Barcelona star Iniesta has been playing for Vissel Gobi since 2018 and signed a new contract in 2021 that will keep him at the club until 2023. Given the salary on offer, it is not surprising that he decided to stay.
Iniesta also has sponsorship deals with big-name Japanese brands like Nissan, Asics and Konami as well as GeneLife, which, according to their website, is a company that “focuses on providing you with your personal genetic information allowing you to improve health and lifestyle choices to prevent disease” .
It looks a little black mirror if you ask us.
In any case, Iniesta’s immediate focus will not be on advertising this range of products but on keeping his team in the J1 League. At the time of writing, Vissel Kobe is within one point of the relegation zone with five games to play.
6. Eden Hazard – $31.1 million (28.6 million salary, $2.5 million)
In truth, Hazard was not planned at Real Madrid. Since his £103m move to the Spanish capital, the Belgian has scored just seven goals in three and few seasons. Watching last season’s Champions League final from the bench must have been particularly unpleasant.
As was the case with Gareth Bale, Real Madrid are stuck paying huge salaries to a player who doesn’t deliver all that regularly. However, they can only blame themselves.
5. Mohamed Salah – $39.5 million (salary $24.5 million, $15 million endorsement)
Salah’s status as one of the most clinical attackers on the planet finally translated into cold and hard cash when he signed a new three-year contract with Liverpool worth £350,000 in August 2022.
Given his large stature in Egypt and the MENA region in general, Salah is also attracting very large sponsorship deals with the likes of Adidas, Pepsi, Vodafone and Uber.
After declining slightly at the end of last season, coach Jurgen Klopp predicted that the Egyptian king would make a comeback in all seasons in 2022-23. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re sure it will, maybe after the World Cup break.
4. Neymar – $91 million ($56 million salary, $35 million)
Now we’re in the real big leagues – the four players whose earnings separate them miles from the rest of football and place them among the world’s richest athletes in any sport.
Neymar is the first to earn the third-highest salary in world football – which also happens to be the third-highest salary at his club, Paris Saint-Germain.
Like many footballers, the Brazilian first plunged into the incomprehensible whirlpool of NFTs and cryptocurrencies, launching a “digital pool” with NFTSTAR, no matter who they are.
He also splashed over $1 million worth of cryptocurrency on two Bored Ape NFTs in one day in January 2022. That’s a lot of cryptocurrency.
3. Lionel Messi $110 million ($62 million salary, $48 million)
He has topped the list of the highest paid players at times, but Messi has now slipped to third place.
However, with endorsement deals for watches, soda pop, communications, sportswear, sports drinks, beer, video games, oil cases, and chips – and this is the World Cup year to boot – we shouldn’t think it’s going to be the center of the action anytime soon. .
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – $113 million ($53 million salary, $60 million)
Ronaldo has more followers on Instagram than any other athlete, celebrity or artist on the planet – 481 million, to be exact.
This means he can sell his anti-dandruff shampoo (and a few other things) to people all over the world, making him the soccer player who earns the most from, if not the most, total care deals anymore.
Is he now more famous than a football player? His only start in Manchester United’s six Premier League matches so far this season suggests he’s on track.
1- Kylian Mbappe $125 million ($105 million, $20 million)
For the first time in more than a decade, Messi and Ronaldo have emerged as the top earning players in football – and it was the French boy prodigy and Messi’s PSG teammate Mbappe who delivered the blow.
Mbappe recently revealed to the New York Times that French President Emmanuel Macron had personally persuaded him not to leave PSG for Real Madrid this summer.
Mbappe said: “He told me: I don’t want you to leave now. You are very important to the country. Of course, when the president tells you that, it matters.”
We imagine the fact that PSG signed a contract worth $105 million a year on the table also counts.
* You can see the article on Sportico over here.
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