Soccer is often called “the beautiful game.” And we’re sure the men below agree since they’re earning big bucks to play! Celebrity Net Worth has ranked these athletes as the highest-paid soccer players today...
30. Robert Lewandowski: $85 Million
At 34 years old, Polish player Robert Lewandowski has scored over 500 goals on the pitch! Today he is considered to be one of the best strikers of all time, with an illustrious career to back it up.
Currently, Lewandowski has a reported starting salary of around $24 million and has spent the last eight seasons with Bayern Munich, the German Bundesliga club. As of July 2022, he has been transferred to Barcelona and is projected to earn $512 million for the next four years.
29. Steven Gerrard: $90 Million
At just 9 years old, Steven Gerrard was scouted by the Liverpool soccer team. No surprises, then, that the Englishman has spent most of his career with the club. Over the years, he has appeared 504 times with Liverpool, scored 120 goals, and even helped lead his team to win the Champions League.
During his career, this impressive player has been named captain of both Liverpool and the national team of England! And naturally, his net worth reflects that. Since retirement, Gerrard has acted as coach for Aston Villa and other teams and garnered sponsorships from Adidas, Jaguar, and Xbox One.
28. Ronaldinho: $90 Million
Ronaldinho left the pitch at just 37 years old, and he’s enjoying every minute of his retirement. Today he travels the world and has amassed an impressive collection of international real estate, with homes from Brazil to Greece, as well as a collection of classic cars - including a Lamborghini Aventador and Ferrari 458.
And he deserves a lavish retirement, considering he is one of the greatest players in soccer history! At just 18 years old, he made a name for himself, scoring 22 goals in 47 matches and over 200 goals in his career altogether. Today Celebrity Net Worth reports his net worth at a cool $90 million.
27. Mohamed Salah: $90 Million
With nicknames like “The Pharoah” and “The Egyptian King,” he’s got to have an impressive net worth to back it up. But Egyptian player Mohamed Salah doesn’t miss. Salah started playing soccer professionally in his home country before he was scouted and transferred to Europe.
He began stacking his successes quickly, leading Liverpool to win the Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles. Today he makes around 350,000 GBP a week (almost $430,000) - more than any other soccer player in Liverpool's history. No surprise, his net worth is listed at $90 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
26. Kaká: $90 Million
Starting off in Brazil, Ricardo Kaká quickly made his way to Italy, with his deft skill and speed a huge bonus for the European nation. For seven years, Kaká played for AC Milan and Italy, and in 2006-07 he cemented his legend status by helping the team to take the UEFA Champions League title.
He also racked up significant endorsement deals with brands like Adidas, Hyundai, and WiseUp, and even scored a modeling contract with the luxury brand Armani. Back in 2008 and 2009, he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people and has since retired with a $90 million net worth.
25. Frank Lampard: $90 Million
Formerly the highest-paid soccer player in the UK, Frank Lampard turned heads when he was signed by Chelsea with a $48 million contract. Naturally, Lampard is considered one of the best players that Chelsea has ever produced and one of the most impressive midfielders in the game.
What many people don’t know is that Lampard’s soccer success runs in the family - his father was a former player and an assistant manager for West Ham United, and he’s also a relative of Harry and Jamie Redknapp, two former English soccer players. Today, Lampard is the manager of the Everton Football Club.
24. Fernando Torres: $90 Million
Fernando Torres may have been nicknamed El Niño (The Kid), but his prowess on the pitch was anything but childlike. During his 20-year career, he scored more than 200 goals, including 20 goals in a single season with Liverpool. In his heyday, he was considered one of the world's best strikers.
In his time, he nabbed several highly lucrative endorsement deals with brands like Nike and Pepsi. And later, he became the most expensive Spanish player of all time after he transferred from Liverpool to Chelsea with a price tag of $50 million pounds - approximately $61 million USD.
23. Didier Drogba: $90 Million
Beginning his prolific soccer career in his home country, the Ivory Coast, Didier Drogba became a household name in the UK when he joined Chelsea. And he only added to that success later in his career, when he joined the Phoenix Rising Major League soccer team in the US as the very first player-owner.
Throughout his career, he made extra money on the side, appearing in ads for massive international brands like Samsung, Pepsi, and Nike. Since his retirement from international football in 2014, Drogba has been enjoying life with a $90 million net worth, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
22. Bastian Schweinsteiger: $90 Million
Influenced by his older brother, Bastian Schweinsteiger picked up a soccer ball when he was just 6 years old in his native Germany. That early start helped to propel him to success, where he won eight Bundesliga titles, a FIFA Club World Cup, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and a number of other titles.
With such a prestigious career behind him, it’s no wonder that Schweinsteiger has gone on to enjoy a $90 million empire. The former Bayern Munich, Manchester United, and Chicago Fire player has since gone into retirement, capping his post-soccer career with a stint as a sports analyst in Germany.
21. Samuel Eto'o: $95 Million
Another record-setting wonder, Samuel Eto’o was renowned in the soccer world for his technical skill and prowess. Growing up in Cameroon, Eto’o shot to fame in 2011 when he was transferred from Inter Milan to Anzhi Makhachkala, a Russian team, earning a $29 million salary.
Back in his native Cameroon, Eto’o smashed records as the county’s leading scorer and helped the national team take the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Today, Celebrity Net Worth has the champion scorer ranked with a net worth of $95 million.
20. Raúl González Blanco: $100 Million
Playing for the prestigious club Real Madrid is a dream for soccer played around the world, and Raúl González Blanco did just that - for a whopping 16 years! To date, he holds the record for the most appearances in RM history, showing up on the pitch 741 times, as well as scoring 323 goals.
Considering Blanco has been a long-time fan favorite and a mainstay of Real Madrid, it makes sense that he would go on to join the managerial team for RM after retiring as an athlete. And with ad campaigns for Pepsi and Adidas, he’s settled down with hefty savings under his belt.
19. Philipp Lahm: $100 Million
Another German champion, Phillip Lahm, started off playing soccer in his home city of Munich at 11, playing for the youth program of Bayern Munich. So it was a natural progression when Lahm transitioned to Bayern Munich proper, eventually becoming captain and leading the national team for Germany.
In fact, it was Lahm’s team that took the World Cup back in 2014, making it the cherry on the cake of his career. He officially stood down a few days later, retiring with over $100 million to his name, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth. We think he deserves every cent!
18. Pelé: $100 Million
Few sportsmen are able to pull off a single moniker, but Edson Arantes do Nascimento, otherwise known as Pelé, is one of them. And for good reason - he rose through the ranks of professional soccer, becoming a national hero in his home country of Brazil and earning a spot on Time’s 100 most important people of the 20th century.
Even FIFA recognized his masterful approach to the sport, awarding him ‘Player of the Century,’ and he eventually earned the title O Rei (“The King”). To date, he is the only soccer player to win three FIFA World Cups, and he even helped broker a truce during the Nigerian Civil War because so many citizens wanted to watch him play.
17. Eden Hazard: $100 Million
Despite his surname, Eden Hazard is no hazard on the pitch. Hailing from Belgium, this player made a name for himself playing for Chelsea, where he spent 8 years and led them to the League Cup and Premier League championships. In 2019 he was then transferred to Real Madrid.
The transfer netted him an impressive 150 million euros (about $158 million). He went on to score sponsorship deals with companies like Nike and a deal as the face of 2019’s FIFA video game. He recently made an official announcement of retirement, leaving the Belgium team and continuing as part-owner of the San Diego 1904 FC.
16. Zinedine Zidane: $120 Million
We’re sure no soccer fan will be surprised to see French player Zinedine Zidane on this list. Also known as Zizou, this iconic midfielder became an establishment name, earning endorsements from Adidas, Audi, and even Lego (among others)! Today, his technical skill in the field is still fondly remembered.
With big-name endorsements and an illustrious career that netted him a $14 million salary (according to Celebrity Net Worth), he’s been able to settle into early retirement with an incredible $120 million net worth. He spends his time coaching for Real Madrid these days, and we couldn’t imagine a better job for him!
15. Mesut Özil: $120 Million
Another consummate midfielder, German player Mesut Özil shot to fame after his performance at the 2010 World Cup, eventually being snapped up by Real Madrid. After three years with RM, he was then transferred to Arsenal for a record-breaking 42.5 million pounds ($52 million).
He thrived at Arsenal, helping the team to win their first trophy in nine years. Since then, he’s gone on to start several ventures off the pitch, including an esports team, a cafe chain, a streetwear brand, and more. He’s even gone on to ownership, purchasing shares in Necaxa, the Mexican soccer club.
14. José Mourinho: $120 Million
It’s not often a pro soccer player thrives more as a coach than they do as a player, but Portuguese player José Mourinho did just that. Though he did well as an athlete in Portugal, his profile took off when he began coaching, eventually becoming one of the wealthiest men in the great game.
His proficiency as a coach was so high that Mourinho became known as The Special One, managing various teams and helping them win the Europa League and Champions League titles. Today he has multiple endorsements with Samsung and American Express and currently coaches for AS Roma.
13. Andrés Iniesta: $120 Million
We love rags to riches stories, and Andrés Iniesta certainly has one. Beginning his love of the game in a Spanish village that was so small it didn’t have a football club, he went on to play for Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world. He played 669 games and scored 57 goals over a 22-year career.
Some highlights of his career included helping the Spanish team claim the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where Iniesta scored the winning goal of the competition, making him a verified hero back in Spain. He also joined the Japanese League team, Vissel Kobe, with a $30 million salary over 3 years to boot.
12. Paul Pogba: $125 Million
Zig-zagging back and forth works for Paul Pogba both on and off the field. Beginning his career in France, he eventually moved to Manchester United before joining Juventus. Pogba then ping-ponged back to Man U, before settling again with Juventus. It must be hard to choose between such legendary teams!
No doubt that this player's best years were in 2014 and 2018, when he performed valiantly at both World Cups. In 2014 he even nabbed the title of Best Young Player and scored one of the winning goals in France's final game against Croatia in 2018.
11. Thierry Henry: $130 Million
A veritable legend in French soccer, Thierry Henry has an impressive number of titles and accomplishments under his belt. He won the Premier League Golden Boot four times - more than any other player, and broke another record when he won the French Player of the Year five times!
With a career so busy, it’s no surprise to any French soccer fans that Henry jumped straight into coaching upon his retirement. He’s also taken to the screen for multiple purposes, including ads and commercials for Nike, Gillette, Pepsi, as well as appearing in the hit Apple TV+ show Ted Lasso.
10. Gareth Bale: $145 Million
At just 16 years old, Gareth Bale shot to public attention when he was chosen to play for Wales in international games, the youngest player at the time to do so. Of course, he went on to flourish with the Welsh team, helping them enter the FIFA World Cup after 64 years of failing to qualify.
Later in his career, he played for the Tottenham Hotspurs before being transferred to Real Madrid for a staggering amount - 85.1 million pounds, approximately $104 million. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he now has a net worth of $145 million - and after starting off so young, we hope he’s enjoying it!
9. Kylian Mbappé: $150 Million
Claiming the title of the youngest player to ever score a goal at a World Cup is no mean feat, and Kylian Mbappé did so at just 19 years old! And one year before that, the young prodigy was signed to Paris Saint-Germain under a jaw-dropping transfer deal that cost around 180 million euros, approx $189 million.
No surprise then that today Mbappé is one of the wealthiest players alive, with a stunning $150 million net worth. His high value has a lot to do with the impressive endorsement deals he’s signed with companies like Nike and Hublot. He also broke another record as the youngest solo player on a FIFA video game cover. Whew!
8. Ronaldo: $160 Million
Here’s another player who has claimed more titles than we can name. Beloved player Ronaldo, also dubbed O Fenômeno (“The Phenomenon”), had claimed the title of FIFA World Player of the Year on three occasions and led teams to win two FIFA World Cup titles.
Safe to say Ronaldo is one of the greats. He claimed a ten-year contract and lifetime endorsement deal with Nike back in 1998 and owns stakes in two teams - the Fort Lauder Strikers and Real Valladolid, as well as the sports and entertainment agency 9ine.
7. Wayne Rooney: $170 Million
Liverpool may be a small city, but it’s made its mark on the world - first with The Beatles, and again with Wayne Rooney. The Englishman is a role model for aspiring athletes everywhere, but in particular soccer players, as he holds the goal record for both Manchester United and the national team of England.
Of course, he is best known for his time playing for Man U and made the bulk of his $170 million net worth (according to Celebrity Net Worth) from his career earnings, major endorsements, and book deals. He was endorsed by Nike, Ford, and Coca-Cola, and earned a $6 million cash advance for five books with HarperCollins.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimović: $190 Million
Despite a 20-year career playing the beautiful game, Zlatan Ibrahimović is still going strong. The Swedish goalscorer started his career with Malmö FF before moving to Ajax. Since then he has moved around to many different teams, though the love and respect fans have for him has only grown over the years.
In his career, Ibrahimović has appeared twice at the FIFA World Cup representing Sweden and steadily became a favorite around the world for his skill on the pitch. Today, his net worth sits at around $190 million, as reported by Celebrity Net Worth.
5. Neymar: $200 Million
Now we’re getting to the end of the list, topped off by some of the greatest living legends in modern soccer. Next up, we have Neymar, another one-name wonder, who is known for his impressive run with the Brazilian national team, where he scored 77 goals. Otherwise, he has scored 100 goals with three different teams.
He also helped take Paris Saint-Germain to the Champions League Final! Over the years, he has been endorsed by Puma, Volkswagon, Unilever, and various other companies, and more recently, Netflix released Neymar: The Perfect Chaos, a docuseries about his life.
4. David Whelan: $210 Million
Next, we have a player who has made it high on this list for unconventional reasons. While he had a ten-year career as a soccer player from 1956 to 1966, with over 193 appearances, it’s not what he’s most known for. Instead, he’s known for his later career in the grocery industry.
He owned his business for years, eventually selling it and moving on to JJB, one of the UK's major retailers. Today he has a stunning $210 million net worth, though he never forgot his roots - eventually, he bought the Wigan Athletic Football Club, proving that a player's love for the sport never truly fades.
3. David Beckham: $450 Million
Here’s a household name that even people who don’t watch soccer will know! David Beckham started his professional career at 17 when he joined the iconic team Manchester United. An impressive midfielder, he quickly became known as one of the most recognizable faces in the sport.
For 20 years, Beckham was on top of the world, earning 19 trophies and going on to co-own two teams post-retirement - Inter Miami CF and Salford City. But he’s equally well-known for his life off the court, including his lifetime deal with Adidas and his marriage to former Spice Girl Victoria.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo: $500 Million
For an athlete like Cristiano Ronaldo, a half-billion-dollar net worth just makes sense. A literal living legend, the Portuguese superstar has only gone from strength to strength over the course of his career. Today he is known as one of the best forwards and overall players in soccer history.
Not only that, but Forbes has listed him as the first soccer player to ever earn a billion dollars, proving his competence as a player, businessman, and media figure. His empire is so expansive that he even became the first sportsman to reach half a billion followers on social media!
1. Lionel Messi: $600 Million
Perhaps it should come as no surprise to see Argentina’s hero, Lionel Messi, at the number one spot on our list. At $600 million, he easily has the highest net worth of any living soccer player, according to Celebrity Net Worth. And he has earned it, wowing crowds and winning titles for the last 20 years.
With Barcelona, Messi scored 672 goals across 778 games and garnered big brand endorsements from the likes of Adidas, Pepsi, Gatorade, and more. Forbes places his earnings at a stupefying $33 million per year, and considering how many people he has awed and inspired in his career, he deserves it!