• Top List

The 14 highest-paid footballers around the world in 2020

The 14 highest-paid footballers around the world in 2020
Getty Images

After Forbes’ release of the latest figures regarding the 100 best-paid athletes, we give you the 14 highest-paid footballers who made the list.

Making it as a top football player entails you to many lucrative gains. Aside from an annual income that normally reaches colossal figures, lucrative commercial deals can also come your way.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, however, athletes across the world have suffered losses. In fact, Forbes claims it’s the first time in four years that figures have dropped. This comes as no surprise, considering all the marquee sporting events cancelled over the last few months.

Even the biggest footballers around the world have taken pay cuts to ease the burden on their respective clubs. Compared to many of their peers, though, this was just a slight dip in the ocean.

So using Forbes’ latest figures, we give you the 14 highest-paid football players around the world in 2020.

14. Sergio Ramos – $21.8m

Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid
Getty Images

As one of the greatest defenders over the last decade and captain of Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos is naturally among the biggest earners.

Nike is the 34-year-old’s main sponsor. He’s endorsed the American footwear firm’s product frequently and appeared on commercials for them. Pepsi, Gatorade and Hugo Boss have also hired him as a brand ambassador.

All this helped Ramos bank $3m (€2.7m) in endorsement deals and $18.8m (€16.9m) in salary. His net worth, meanwhile, is an estimated $80m (€72m/£64m).

13. Gareth Bale – $25.2m

Gareth Bale, Real Madrid
Getty Images

From playing Championship football in 2006 to the world’s most expensive player seven years later, Bale’s net worth has skyrocketed to an estimated $125m (€114.7m).

His positioning among the world’s highest-paid athletes has also improved compared to 2019; upon jumping six places from 79th to 73rd-place. Although Bale’s earnings have dropped by $1.9m.

Despite his problems at Real Madrid, however, Bale is still well supported. He remains tied with Adidas and is going strong on the business side of things, having recently launched his own Esports team, Ellevens Esports, in partnership with 38 Entertainment Group.

12. Alexis Sanchez – $25.6m

Alexis Sanchez, Inter Milan
Getty Images

Things may not be going so well on the pitch for Alexis, but at least he can still sit comfortably rolling in the millions.

The Chilean’s poverty-stricken start in life is a far cry from the circumstances he finds himself in today, earning $25.6m alone for 2020. A big part of his earnings is from his lucrative four-and-a-half-year deal with Manchester United, signed in January 2018 after joining from Arsenal.

According to reports, the Red Devils are subsidising his wages while on loan at Inter Milan this season.

Nike even has him tied on a multi-million dollar tie to wear their footwear.

11. David de Gea – $25.7m

David De Gea, Manchester United
Getty Images

The Spanish goalkeeper is Manchester United’s highest-paid player on a whooping £375,000-per-week until 2023.

De Gea is also tied with Adidas, having worn the shoemaker’s Adidas Copa 19.1 football boots and Predator goalkeeper gloves this season. Pepsi and EA Sports have sponsored him themselves.

All this helped De Gea bank $3m in endorsement deals and $25.7m in total earnings, leaving his net worth at an estimated $19m.

10. Antoine Griezmann – $26.7m

Antoine Griezmann
Getty Images

Like many of his peers, Griezmann suffered a slight drop in earnings compared to last year’s alleged haul of $27.7m.

The Barcelona forward has a host of lucrative sponsorship deals with Puma, Head & Shoulders, Huawei, Gillette, Beats by Dre and watch brand HYT. This earned him $5.5m for the past year.

Griezmann has also jumped up 15 places from the world’s highest-paid athletes of 2019, from 75th to 60th-place in 2020. His net worth, meanwhile, is an estimated $60m.

9. Oscar – $27.5m

Oscar, highest-paid footballers
Getty Images

Three years after that shock transfer from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG, Oscar is still going strong in China.

The two-time Premier League winner is the highest-earner among his fellow footballers in all of East Asia and profited $27.5m this past year. And while it’s still a $1.5m loss compared to his previous earnings, Oscar is still rolling in the millions comfortably.

According to reports, the Brazilian’s net worth has grown to $70m.

8. Paul Pogba – $28.5m

Paul Pogba, Manchester United
Getty Images

Pogba suffered a big drop from his reported earnings in 2019, which yielded $33m in comparison. His lowered wages at Manchester United are the reason behind it. The club paid him $29m last year, which is $6m less than in 2020.

Although the World Cup winner’s endorsement income has grown by $1.5m, Adidas are his biggest sponsors, having tied him down to a 10-year deal in 2016 worth around $40m.

Therefore, Pogba’s net worth stands at an estimated $60m as of May 2020.

7. Mesut Ozil – $28.7m

Mesut Ozil
Getty Images

The German playmaker may not be having the best time at Arsenal, but at least his salary makes it worthwhile.

After losing Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in January 2018, Arsenal made Ozil their highest-paid player in history on a whooping £350,000-per-week and £18.2m annually. A host of lucrative sponsorship deals, meanwhile, increases his income.

The former Real Madrid man’s net worth is at an estimated $100m (€92.1m/£80.4m).

6. Andres Iniesta – $29.6m

Andres Iniesta
Getty Images

The Barcelona legend has been playing Japanese football since 2018 for Vissel Kobe.

His old Blaugrana teammates David Villa, Thomas Vermaelen and Sergi Samper have all linked up with him over the last two years. This has helped Iniesta win two trophies in East Asia.

The 36-year-old’s net worth is a reported $86m despite his earnings dropping $2.9m compared to 2019.

5. Kylian Mbappe – $33.8m

Kylian Mbappe
Getty Images

Mbappe is one of the most in-demand football players around the world following his exploits over the last few years. Therefore, Paris Saint-Germain have tied him down on a lucrative contract.

The 21-year-old’s biggest sponsorship deal is with Nike. In fact, he signed a new lucrative deal with the American firm in 2017 before joining PSG. Rumour has it he turned down a €5m offer to switch to rivals Adidas at the same time.

And while many of his peers have suffered losses over the past year, Mbappe profited $3.8m compared to his $30m haul in 2019. His net worth, meanwhile, is already estimated to be at $110m (€100m).

4. Mohamed Salah –  $35.1m

Mohamed Salah
Getty Images

Salah’s sensational rise continues, with the Liverpool man now the fourth best-paid football player on $35.1m.

Much of the 27-year-old’s earnings came from endorsement deals, which include Vodafone, Uber and Falken Tires. He’s also endorsed Adidas products in the past.

Estimates on Salah’s net worth aren’t clear, though. There have been various reports on distinct figures, ranging from between $3m to $40m.

3. Neymar – $95.5m

Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain
Getty Images

The world-record signing has shown glimpses of his old self this season for Paris Saint-Germain. While his injury woes are still a concern, it’s an improvement nonetheless.

Although life in his ‘Golden Prison’ has taken a hit financially. Compared to last year’s earnings of $105m, Neymar has lost $9.5m in 2020.

$4.5m came from his PSG contract and a further $5m was lost in endorsement deals. With an estimated net worth of $123m, however, Neymar won’t be going broke anytime soon.

2. Lionel Messi – $104m

Lionel Messi
Getty Images

Dropping down to second place with a $23m loss is Lionel Messi.

The six-time Ballon d’Or winner proves his money’s worth each season by thrilling fans with his unbelievable talents. But even his talents alone aren’t enough in 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic hit Barcelona hit hard, forcing the club’s players and staff to accept wage cuts. Forbes, therefore, claims that Messi took a $20m cut from his $92m salary from last year.

Despite suffering a further $3m loss in endorsement deals, however, Messi’s net worth is still at an estimated $400m (€350m).

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $105m

Cristiano Ronaldo
Getty Images

Leapfrogging his rival as the world’s highest-paid football player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite taking a big pay cut following his transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus in 2018, the Portugal captain still bags a sweet income. His lucrative sponsorship deals are the key reason behind this.

As perhaps the world’s most famous footballer, Ronaldo is never short of offers. Nike, Tag Heuer, Clear Haircare, EA Sports, Herbalife and DAZN have all worked with him in the past.

Compared to last year’s income of $109m, Ronaldo suffered a loss of $4m.

The biggest drop was in his Juventus salary, where he agreed to a pay cut to support the club during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ronaldo’s increased business ventures, however, ensure that he’s not dependent on the Turin-based club. In fact, his estimated net worth of $460m (€408m) makes him the world’s richest football player,