Soccer is a global sport with quality players spread out across the world, but the highest paid soccer players usually play in one of the five biggest leagues in Europe – Ligue 1 (France), Bundesliga (Germany), Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), and Serie A (Italy).
There are other popular football leagues in the world, such as the MLS in the United States and Liga Apertura in Mexico, but player contracts in these two leagues normally don’t compare to those in Europe. That’s why you’ll see most of the highest paid soccer players in Europe!
When a player signs a contract with a football club, at least in Europe, they are given a base salary that’s paid weekly – regardless of whether they play that week or not. Players also have opportunities to make more money based on bonuses, endorsements, and international play.
Who Are the Highest Paid Soccer Players Today?
It’s no coincidence that the highest paid soccer players are also the most talented, skilled, and popular soccer players today. Both on and off the field, these players garner a lot of attention and it results in record-breaking weekly salaries, plenty of endorsements, and overall stardom.
If you want to be considered among the highest paid soccer players today, you need to rise to global fame. While that’s easier for soccer players compared to other athletes, especially considering how popular the sport of soccer is around the world, it’s still a difficult thing to do.
We spend all day watching these talented soccer players do what they do best, but have you ever wondered who the highest paid soccer players are in 2022? Most of the names won’t surprise you, but there will be a few that pique your interest. Anyways, let’s take a look!
25. Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling is an English winger for Manchester City in the Premier League. He made his senior debut in 2012 and spent three years with Liverpool, scoring 18 goals in 95 appearances. Since transferring to Manchester City in 2015, he has scored 85 goals in 211 appearances.
He has won 11 major trophies with Manchester City, including back-to-back Premier League titles in 2018 and 2019. In 72 national appearances for England, Sterling has 18 goals.
24. Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish is an English winger for Manchester City in the Premier League, joining the team in 2021. The transfer from Aston Villa was worth a reported £100 million, the most ever for an English player – a record once held by Sterling. His salary is expected to continue to rise.
Grealish made his senior debut with Aston Villa in 2012, scoring 29 goals in 185 appearances up until 2021. He has two goals in 13 appearances with Manchester City since the transfer.
23. Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku is a Belgian striker for Chelsea in the Premier League, joining the team in 2021. He previously played for Inter Milan (47 goals), Manchester United (28 goals), Everton (68 goals), West Bromwich Albion (17 goals), and Anderlecht (33 goals), making his debut in 2009.
He has played for the Belgium national team since 2010 and has scored 68 goals in 101 appearances. His 68 goals is the most by a Belgian player and he continues to add on to it.
Marcelo, also known as Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior, is a left back for Real Madrid in La Liga. He has been with the team since 2007, scoring 26 goals in 378 appearances. In that time, he has won 22 major trophies with Real Madrid, including four UEFA titles and five La Liga titles.
He also won the Confederations Cup with Brazil in 2013, making 58 appearances for Brazil’s national team and scoring six goals for his country. He last played for team Brazil in 2018.
21. Thomas Müller
Thomas Müller is a German striker for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, a team he originally joined back in 2008. Over the past 13 years, he has made 400 appearances with the team and scored 134 goals in that time. He also has 29 major trophies to his name with Bayern Munich.
In fact, Müller is Germany’s most decorated footballer of all-time with 30 in his career – 29 with Bayern Munich and one with Germany (2014 World Cup winner). That’s a lot of trophies!
20. Raphaël Varane
Raphaël Varane is a French centre-back for Manchester United in the Premier League, joining the team in 2021. He has played nine games for the team thus far, dishing a game-winning assist in his debut. He previously played for Real Madrid (236 games) and Lens (23 games).
Throughout his 10-year career with Madrid, Varane won 19 major trophies – including two more with France. He’s expected to continue that success with Manchester United in the near future.
19. Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho is an English winger for Manchester United in the Premier League, joining the team in 2021 – along with Varane. He already played in 16 games for Man U, scoring his first goal with them on November 23, 2021. He scored his first Premier League goal five days later.
Sancho previously played for Borussia Dortmund – a German team – from 2017-2021, scoring 38 goals in 104 appearances. The future is bright for this 21-year-old football player.
18. Frenkie de Jong
Frenkie de Jong is a Dutch midfielder for Barcelona in La Liga. He made his senior debut with Willem II in 2015, but only made two appearances before transferring to Jong Ajax – where he scored eight goals in 46 appearances. He spent the next three years with Ajax in Eredivisie.
He joined Barcelona in 2019 and has scored six goals in 82 appearances since. He has won three major trophies in his career, but you can expect that to increase with Barcelona.
17. David Alaba
David Alaba is an Austrian centre-back for Real Madrid in La Liga. He made his senior debut with Austria Wien II in 2007 and played 33 games for Bayern Munich II before being called up to Bayern Munich in 2010. He spent the next 11 years with them, scoring 22 goals in 281 games.
Alaba joined Real Madrid in 2021 and already has one goal in 18 domestic appearances. He’s one of the best defenders of his generation and has won 29 major trophies in his career.
16. Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho is a Brazilian winger for Barcelona in La Liga, but is expected to transfer to the Premier League very soon. He began his senior career with Inter Milan in 2008 and spent five years with the club – though he was loaned to Vasco da Gama and Espanyol in that time.
He then spent five years with Liverpool before joining Barcelona, though he played for Bayern Munich on loan for one year. He has won 11 major trophies in his career, and counting.
15. Luka Modrić
Luka Modrić is a Croatian center midfielder for Real Madrid in La Liga. Between 2003-2008, he played for Dinamo Zagreb, Zrinjski Mostar, and Inter Zaprešić to begin his senior career. Over that time, he scored 38 goals in 134 domestic games and also began playing for Croatia in 2006.
In 2012, Modrić earned his big break when he signed with Real Madrid. He has been with the team ever since, scoring 20 goals in 279 domestic games. He has played 643 career games.
14. Jan Oblak
Jan Oblak is a Slovenian goalkeeper for Atlético Madrid in La Liga. He has been with the team since 2014, making 248 domestic appearances in that timeframe. Between 2009 and 2014, he played for Benfica, Beira-Mar, Benfica B, Olhanense, União de Leiria, and Rio Ave.
In his career, Oblak has played in 439 games and has won seven major trophies. He was named Slovenian Footballer of the Year six times, four of which were consecutive.
13. Kevin De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne is a Belgian midfielder for Manchester City F.C. in the Premier League. He has been with the club since 2015, scoring 47 goals in 192 domestic games. He previously played for Genk, Chelsea, Werder Bremen, and VfL Wolfsburg between 2008 and 2015.
Throughout his career, he has played in 513 games and scored 120 goals – including 198 assists. He has won 17 major trophies, including German Football of the Year in 2015.
12. David de Gea
David de Gea is a Spanish goalkeeper for Manchester United in the Premier League. He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world and has been for the past 5+ years. He began his senior career in 2008 with Atlético Madrid, but eventually joined Manchester United in 2011.
He immediately replaced retiring goaltender Edwin van der Sar and now has 584 career games played, most of which with Man U. He has 193 career clean sheets and 12 major trophies.
11. Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann is a French forward for Atlético Madrid in La Liga. He began his senior career with Real Sociedad from 2009-2014, scoring 46 goals in 180 domestic appearances. He spent the next five years with Atlético Madrid, scoring 94 goals in 180 domestic appearances.
After 74 games with Barcelona, Griezmann has been on loan to Atlético Madrid for the past 12 games. He has over 580 career games played, 227 career goals, and 101 career assists.
10. Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard is estimated to make around $29 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He’s a Belgian winger for Real Madrid in La Liga and is the current captain of Belgium’s national team. He joined Madrid in 2019 and already has five goals.
Hazard previously spent seven years with Chelsea, scoring 110 goals in that span. With 606 career games played, he has accumulated 165 goals, 159 assists, and 10 major trophies.
9. Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale is estimated to make around $32 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He’s a Welsh winger for Real Madrid in La Liga, joining the team in 2013. Since then, he has also spent two years on loan with Tottenham Hotspur.
Bale holds a record with six Welsh Footballer of the Year awards, including four consecutive. In 538 career games played, he has 183 goals, 152 assists, and has won 25 major trophies.
8. Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba is estimated to make around $34 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He’s a French midfielder for Manchester United in the Premier League. He joined the club in 2016 and has 38 goals and 51 assists ever since.
Pogba previously played with Juventus from 2012-2016. In 420 career games played, he has accumulated 75 goals and 98 assists. He won 16 major trophies in his young career thus far.
7. Andrés Iniesta
Andrés Iniesta is estimated to make around $35 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He is a Spanish midfielder for Vissel Kobe of the J1 League in Japan. He’s one of the greatest soccer players of all-time in the tail end of his career.
Iniesta had an illustrious and decorated career with Barcelona from 2002-2018. He has played over 780 career games, scoring 82 goals and dishing 161 assists. He has 42 major trophies.
6. Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is estimated to make around $35 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He is a Polish striker for Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga and has been with the club since 2014. He’s one of the best strikers of all-time.
In 236 domestic games with Bayern Munich, he has 222 goals. He has played in over 660 career games, scoring 489 goals and 163 assists. He also has 40 major trophies to his name.
5. Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah is estimated to make around $41 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He’s an Egyptian forward for Liverpool in the Premier League, but is also captain of Egypt’s national team. He has been with Liverpool since 2017.
Salah is one of the best players in the world right now. He has played in over 482 career games since 2009, scoring 225 goals and 112 assists. He also has 19 major trophies to his name.
4. Kylian Mbappé
Kylian Mbappé is estimated to make around $43 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He’s a French forward for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 that began his senior career with Monaco from 2015-2018, scoring 16 goals in 41 games.
He was loaned to PSG in 2017 and his transfer was made official in 2018. In 264 career games played, Mbappé has scored 180 goals and 111 assists. He also has 24 major trophies.
3. Neymar Jr.
Neymar Jr. is estimated to make around $95 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. Born Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, he’s a Brazilian forward for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. He is easily one of the best players in the world.
He began his senior career with Santos and eventually moved on to Barcelona before settling in PSG. In 452 career games played, he has 265 goals, 205 assists, and 31 major trophies.
2. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is estimated to make around $110 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He’s an Argentine forward for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 – forming a powerful trio with both Neymar Jr. and Mbappé. He joined the club in 2021.
Messi spent the previous 17 years with Barcelona as he rose to fame. In 802 career games played, Messi scored 678 goals and dished 409 assists. He won the Ballon d’Or seven times.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is estimated to make around $125 million this year from both football salary and endorsements, according to Forbes. He’s a Portuguese forward for Manchester United in the Premier League. He joined the team in 2021, but also played with the club from 2003-2009.
Ronaldo has been one of the biggest names in football for almost two decades. In 918 career games played, Ronaldo has 688 goals and 301 assists. He won the Ballon d’Or five times.
Who Are the Highest Paid Soccer Players of All-Time?
Due to the ever-growing popularity of the sport, football contracts – much like what we’re seeing in other professional sports – continue to rise as well. Every year, we see soccer players rake in more money than the year before and it makes you wonder – when will these numbers plateau?
At the rate we’re seeing today, football contracts may never plateau and it seems like the sky’s the limit. We’re already seeing that as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have seen their net worth rise to over $500 million – making them two of the richest athletes in the entire world.
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Outside of Ronaldo and Messi, there are a number of soccer players with high net worths – including David Beckham, Dave Whelan, Alexandre Pato, Wayne Rooney, Gareth Bale, Francesco Totti, Pele, and Eden Hazard. They each have a net worth above $100 million.
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