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Top 10 Highest Paid Footballers in The World

Thanks to Forbes, the highest paid footballers in the world for the year is here again. The just concluded 2018/2019 season gave sports enthusiasts a bevy of memorable moments — both good and bad — and, particularly for Messi and Ronaldo fans, marked the end of an era in football.

For the first time in a 10-year eventful period, no matchup took place between the 2 world’s greatest players in the world. Their historic 30-match string of El Clásico clashes between Real Madrid and Barcelona, bitter rivals and the 2 most valuable soccer clubs in the world, ended last summer when Christiano Ronaldo joined Italian giants Juventus after a hugely successful 9-year stint with Madrid in Spain’s La Liga.

However, as sad as this loss of rivalry was for argument-prone fans of both highly rated players, it seemingly brought about little effect on either superstar’s performance or earnings.

For the second consecutive year, Lionel Messi claims the top spot among the best-paid soccer players in the world, with earnings of US$127 million. The Barcelona and Argentina captain hauled in $92 million in salary and bonuses before tax deductions, which was a 9.5 per cent increase over what he made on the pitch in 2018. This rise is as a result of the contract extension deal he penned with Barcelona in November 2017, committing him to the club through June 2021.

In this post, we take a look at the top 10 highest paid footballers in the world in 2019.

2019’s Highest Paid Footballers in the World

#10. Antoine Griezmann

LYON, FRANCE – MAY 16: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League Final between Olympique de Marseille and Club Atletico de Madrid at Stade de Lyon on May 16, 2018 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$27.7M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $23.2M
  • Endorsements: $4.5M
  • Biggest Sponsors and Partners: Puma, Huawei
  • Nationality: French  
  • Current Club: Atlético Madrid
  • Age: 28 years

In May, Antoine Griezmann said, in a video posted on Atlético’s Twitter account, his 5- year career with Athletic Madrid was coming to an end after playing 260 matches as well as scoring 133 goals. Regarded as one of the current best players in the world, Griezmann either scored or helped set up 8 of France’s 14 goals in the 2018 World Cup, winning the much-coveted trophy for the 1st time in his career, though he won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2010. The forward, online sources say, is set to complete a 120 million (£107m) move to Barcelona.

#9. Oscar

SHANGHAI, CHINA – NOVEMBER 26: Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior #8 of Shanghai SIPG in action during the 2017 CFA Cup Final Round match between Shanghai SIPG and Shanghai Greenland Shenhua at Shanghai Stadium on November 26, 2017 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by XIN LI/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$29M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $27M
  • Endorsements: $2M
  • Biggest Sponsor and Partner: Adidas
  • Current Club: Shanghai SIPG  
  • Nationality: Brazilian  
  • Age: 27 years

After a 5-year spell at Chelsea, a seventh most valuable football club in the world and one of England’s most successful clubs, Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior in January 2017 made a shocking move to Shanghai SIPG in the Chinese Super League. The 27-year-old ace player quadrupled his weekly earnings and now receives more than $25 million annually through 2020, making him one of the highest paid footballers in the world. The forward recorded a league-high 19 assists and scored 12 goals to help his club, SIPG, emerged winner of the league last year.

#8. Mesut Özil

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 19: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal celebrates after scoring to make it 5-0 during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and PFC Ludogorets Razgrad at Emirates Stadium on October 19, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$30.2M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $23.7M
  • Endorsements: $6.5M
  • Biggest Sponsors and Partners: Adidas, Mercedes Benz, Beats by Dre
  • Club: Arsenal  
  • Nationality: German
  • Current Age: 30 years

Last year February, Özil agreed to a contract extension with Arsenal, a move that ties him to the Islington, London-based club until 2021. With that deal, he was able to double his annual pay to an amount in the region of $24 million. The 30-year-old midfielder, who was formerly a Los Blancos player, quit Germany’s national team last year July, making claims bordering on racism against the German federation president, fans as well as media, who pilloried the player for appearing in photos with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey

#7. Kylian Mbappé

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 17: Kylian Mbappe of PSG celebrates his goal during the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and Olympique Lyonnais (OL) at Parc des Princes on September 17, 2017 in Paris, . (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$30.6M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $26.6M
  • Endorsements: $4M
  • Biggest Sponsors and Partners: Nike, Hublot, Good Gout
  • Club: Paris Saint-Germain  
  • Nationality: French  
  • Current Age: 20 years

Rumoured to soon sign for Madrid, the highly rated 20-year-old French player was initially on loan from Monaco and is now on full contract with Paris Saint-Germain that commits him to the league winners until 2022, making more than $20 million annually (in addition to performance bonuses). Last year, Mbappé, who was 19 then, became the youngest French player to score in a World Cup as well as the 2nd-youngest player to score in a World Cup final, after the legendary player, Pelé.

#6. Alexis Sánchez

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 03: Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford on February 3, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$30.8M
  • Salary & Bonuses: $28.3M
  • Endorsements: $2.5M
  • Biggest Sponsor and Partner: Nike
  • Club: Manchester United  
  • Nationality: Chilean  
  • Current Age: 30 years

Sánchez completed a move to Manchester United from rival club Arsenal last year January and will earn a weekly income within $400,000 – $500,000 (with an additional $1 million bonus annually) through the year 2022. This past season, having scored just 6 goals and recorded 5 assists in 37 appearances for Manchester United, the Chilean forward put up not-so-sparkling performances, unlike he did for Arsenal, struggling with injuries in the Red Devils outfit.

#5. Andrés Iniesta

BARCELONA, SPAIN – APRIL 27: Andres Iniesta of FC Barcelona faces the media during a press conference at the Ciutat Deportiva Joan Gamper on April 27, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. At the end of this season Andres Iniesta will leave the Catalan Club. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$32.5M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $30M
  • Endorsements: $2.5M
  • Biggest Sponsor and Partner: Asics
  • Club: Vissel Kobe  
  • Nationality: Spanish  
  • Current Age: 35 years

The Spanish striker had most of his career at Barcelona, spending 22 years in Camp Nou, where he served as the captain for 3 seasons. A product of Barcelona’s training academy, he left the Catalan club in May 2018 and joined Vissel Kobe in Japan, a move that saw his 19-year sponsorship deal with Nike Iniesta come to an end and that birthed a new multiyear deal with Asics, a Japanese footwear company, in October. His winery, Bodega Iniesta, started production about 9 years ago and includes his Minuto 116. This was named for the minute when he scored the goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup, which gave the country its first title under the gaffer, Vicente del Bosque.

#4. Paul Pogba

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 30: Paul Pogba of Manchester United (6) celebrates as he scores his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth at Old Trafford on December 30, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$33M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $29M
  • Endorsements: $4M
  • Biggest Sponsor and Partner: Adidas
  • Club: Manchester United  
  • Nationality: French  
  • Current Age: 26 years

After a 4-year stint with Juventus, Paul Labile Pogba returned to Manchester United in 2016 (having left the club’s youth academy in a shocking 2009 move) for a then-record US$120 million transfer fee. He signed a five-year contract with his current club, making more than $20 million a year. The versatile French midfielder, who excels in a number of other positions like attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder, and deep-lying playmaker, put his 2018 World Cup-winning, Adidas-sponsored shoes on auction for more than $30,000. He then gave the money as a donation to disadvantaged high schoolers. The Frenchman is subject of much speculation about an impending move to Real Madrid.

#3. Neymar Jr.

2019 highest paid footballers
PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 28: Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool at Parc des Princes on November 28, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
  • Total: US$105M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $75M
  • Endorsements: $30M
  • Biggest Sponsors and Partners: Nike, EA Sports, Red Bull, Mastercard, Gillette, Gaga Milano, DAZN, Beats by Dre
  • Club: Paris Saint-Germain  
  • Nationality: Brazilian 
  • Current Age: 27 years

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior completed a 5-year transfer worth $263 million, the most expensive in the world, from Barcelona to French giants Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022. The deal is worth a total cash outlay of over $600 million ($350 million of which is paid in salary), making him one of the highest paid footballers in the world. The 27-year-old Brazilian forward has scored 51 goals for PSG in all competitions and is keen on returning to Barcelona. According to reports, the South American will walk out on PSG unless the league winners gave their nod to his desired move back to the Camp Nou.

#2. Cristiano Ronaldo

highest paid footballers in the world in 2019
TURIN, ITALY – SEPTEMBER 16: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus FC celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the serie A match between Juventus and US Sassuolo at Allianz Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$109M
  • Salary and Bonuses: $65M
  • Endorsements: $44M
  • Biggest Sponsors and Partners: Nike, Altice, Herbalife, DAZN, Electronic Arts, MTG, CR7 denim, underwear, footwear, fragrance, hotels & gyms
  • Club: Juventus  
  • Nationality: Portuguese
  • Current  Age: 34 years

After an epic 9-year spell with Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro signed for the Serie A champions Juventus in July 2018, in a move that resulted in a pay cut. With his 4-year contract with the Old Lady, he makes a gross annual salary of $64 million. Juventus recorded sales of 520,000 Ronaldo jerseys, valued more than $60 million, within just 24 hours of release. The 5-time FIFA’s Player of the Year Award winner is the first player to win Premier League, La Liga as well as Serie A titles. He also holds the record for the all-time leading goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League. With 370 million total followers, he’s the most followed athlete on social media. In 2018, the Portuguese superstar generated $474 million in value for his partners/sponsors on social media.

#1. Lionel Messi

highest paid footballers in the world in 2019
BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 14: Lionel Messi of Barcelona celebrates as he scores their third goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match FC Barcelona and Chelsea FC at Camp Nou on March 14, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
  • Total: US$127M
  • Salary & Bonus: $92M
  • Endorsements: $35M
  • Largest Sponsors and Partners: Adidas, Gatorade, Lays, Pepsi, Mastercard, Jacobs & Co., Ooredoo
  • Club: FC Barcelona  
  • Nationality: Argentine  
  • Current Age: 31 years

Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini — since his debut for Barcelona around 6 years ago — has played 687 matches for the Catalan outfit, scoring 603 times, and winning a massive 33 club titles, along with 10 La Liga championships. His present contract with Barcelona, which pays him more than $80 million annually, ensures that he remains a one-club player through 2020 and 2021. The prolific Argentine goalscorer and creative playmaker also has a lifelong deal with Adidas. A record-tying, 5-time FIFA’s Player of the Year Award winner like Ronaldo, he also holds the record for winning the European Golden Shoe as the highest scorer on the Continent 6 times. He is a record-holder of the most goals in La Liga (419), the highest hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League (8), a La Liga & European league season (50),  and the highest assists in La Liga (169). He has scored more than 695 times during his senior career for both club and country.


There you have it, the highest paid footballers in the world in 2019. Any surprises? Let us know in the comments.

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Source, Featured image – Getty images