Every year, football players make millions of dollars, and we’ve compiled a list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2021.
The world of football has shifted once more. In a world where superstars come and go, Lionel Messi‘s status as Barcelona’s crown gem has never been in dispute — until now.
Following an abrupt exit from his childhood club in a cash-rich transaction that would have set accountants spinning over the previous several weeks, the 34-year-old has rubber-stamped a transfer to PSG.
The beautiful game is a multi-billion-pound enterprise, with the world’s finest football players earning huge sums with every touch of the ball.
The top ten highest-paid players in the world combined skill and luck that generated significant payoffs like those that can be struck by playing Spin Casino, the leading online platform for the ultimate gamer.
Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar may be the top three players globally, but can their brilliance translate into financial success?
To ensure accuracy, we based our statistics on information from L’Equipe, Forbes, and various government sources.
Unless otherwise stated, all statistics are before tax and do not include incentives, additional fees, or the numerous sponsorship arrangements that, in certain circumstances, may quickly quadruple a player’s annual revenue.
Top-paid players in the world in 2021
10. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – £350,000 per week
Robert Lewandowski’s ruthlessness in front of goal earned him the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award for 2020.
The 32-year-old striker and Bundesliga’s all-time highest foreign goalscorer shows no signs of slowing down.
Bayern Munich spends a significant portion of their salary bill on Lewandowski’s services each season, and he’s a social media sensation with 3.9 million TikTok followers.
9. David De Gea (Manchester United) – £375,000 per week
The Manchester United goalkeeper is the world’s highest-paid goalkeeper, putting him at ninth position on the list.
Most of David de Gea’s annual wages come from his Old Trafford deal, which pays little over £400,000 each week.
Following a series of gaffes in the 2019/20 season, the Spaniard’s future has been called into doubt. Still, he has recovered in the face of stiff competition from United academy product Dean Henderson.
8. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City ) – £385,000 per week
De Bruyne just signed a new contract with City, propelling him to the top of the Premier League’s salary list.
He makes more than colleague Raheem Sterling and new Man City recruit Jack Grealish, both of whom are paid approximately £300,000 per week.
The silky Belgian’s contract with City was extended until 2025, thereby tying him in for the rest of his career – an immense comfort for City supporters and Pep Guardiola.
7. Kylian Mbappe (PSG) – £410,000 per week
Kylian Mbappe, the leader of the new generation, is generally expected to take over as football’s preeminent superstar in the coming years.
The 22-year-permanent old’s transfer from Monaco to PSG in 2018 was the second most expensive in club history, and he has already scored over 100 goals for PSG.
He cemented his status among the world’s greatest players by scoring four goals as France won the 2018 World Cup, but he faltered at the postponed Euro 2020, missing a crucial penalty that sent France home.
6. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – £500,000 per week
It’s fair to say that the Welsh superstar has fallen out of favour in recent years.
Gareth Bale, formerly the most expensive player in football history, was locked out by Real Madrid and sent back on loan to Tottenham Hotspur for the 2020/21 season.
Bale was one of Adidas’ most well-known players, but with only one year left on his lucrative Bernabeu deal, he is set to fall out of the top ten shortly.
5. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) – £575,000 per week
Antoine Griezmann’s long-awaited transfer from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona in 2019 was the fifth most expensive transfer in history. Still, the dynamic attacker has yet to light up the Nou Camp.
Griezmann’s big deal may put him in line for a transfer away before it expires, as the Catalan club has to get their finances in order.
He is most known for performing Fortnite’s “Take the L” dance to celebrate a goal in the 2018 World Cup final, and he also founded his own eSports squad last year.
4. Luiz Suarez (Atletico Madrid) – £575,000 per week
Suarez, a former Barcelona player, has taken Griezmann’s place at Atletico Madrid. Barcelona controversially sold Suarez for a pittance, but he made them pay when he led Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title at the first attempt.
He scored 21 goals in 32 La Liga games to help Atletico win the league, and he has shown to be worth every cent of his salary, unlike some of Barcelona’s big-name players.
As the 34-year-old nears the conclusion of his career, this is likely to be Suarez’s final large payday.
3. PSG’s Neymar (PSG) – £606,000 per week
Neymar, the face of Brazilian football, boosted his bank account by signing a world-record £200 million deal from Barcelona to PSG in 2017.
The French club, which has amassed a group of superstars in their attempt to win the elusive Champions League trophy, pays him more than £30 million each year before incentives.
He earns much less money from sponsors than the next two stars on the list, which may be an indication of his polarising character.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – £900,000 per week
Being the world’s most famous athlete isn’t enough to put you at the top of the rich list.
Cristiano Ronaldo may have the most Instagram followers, but one footballer dwarfs him in terms of annual revenue.
The Portuguese superstar supplements his near-million-pound weekly pay with an annual income of over £34 million from his CR7 brand and sponsors like Nike and Herbalife.
With a goal for Juventus against Napoli in the 2021 Italian Super Cup, he became the all-time leading goalscorer in football, with 760 for club and country, and he has continued to score ever since.
1. Lionel Messi (PSG) -£960,000 per week
Many believe Messi to be the best player of all time, and he earns the most money in the world to go along with it.
We’re still a little uneasy about calling him “the PSG ace” or “the former Barcelona guy,” but the Argentine superstar has gotten a huge salary raise due to his move to PSG.
He was about to sign a deal with Barcelona for almost £1.1 million per week before tax. Still, the Spanish club could not finalise the agreement due to La Liga financial regulations, forcing him to quit the club he had spent his whole career.
Messi has now agreed to a contract for £25 million per year after taxes as a base wage. Before taxes, that equates to almost £50 million each year.
After incentives, signing-on fees, and appearance costs are deducted, Messi will be earning well over a million dollars a week, and that’s before external sponsorships are included.
From endorsements and partnerships with companies like Adidas and Pepsi, he earns an extra £25 million.