It’s not exactly a secret anymore that soccer – or football, as they say across the pond – is a very lucrative line of work. You don’t even have to play at a high level to make a decent living out of kicking a ball for 90 minutes a week.
Lately though, there’s been a huge influx of Chinese money that has changed the hierarchy of football wages. While there was a time where the best player in the world had the biggest wage, this is no longer the case. The Chinese Super League is buying moderate and/or old football players to boost their own league, with some pretty ridiculous wages to convince them to make the trip to China.
That said – top clubs in Europe aren’t paying too bad either. While there’s a lot of speculation regarding wages and the numbers can vary greatly, let’s try to take a look at the top 15 best paid football players in the world, based on the most recent (and trustworthy) numbers. Oh – and these are weekly wages, no endorsements or marketing deals included. Just in case you were wondering because of all the zeroes.
10. Neymar Jr. (Barcelona) – $371,400
The Brazilian wonderkid gets paid a decent Lamborghini each week. And let’s be honest – he’s worth every penny.
9. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – $372,600
The most expensive transfer in football history, and yet there’s 8 people out there that make more money than him. Must be because of all the unnecessary dabbing.
8. Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian) – $385,400
He moved to China last year where he got a contract of nearly $22 million, of which over $19,200,000 is his fixed wage and the rest is paid in incentives. Nice. Cash and carry.
7. Hulk (Shanghai SIPG) – $411,000
The Brazilian striker, who was a teammate of Axel Witsel at the time they both moved to China, apparently made a better deal than his ex-teammate.
6. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – $411,000
Considering he’s been in and out of injuries this season, it’s pretty obvious Real Madrid wants to get rid of this financial disaster. Paying $411,000 each week for someone that isn’t fit to play doesn’t seem like a very good economic plan.
5. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – $462,400
Honestly, if Messi is number 5 on this list, there’s very few players that are actually worth their wages after this (spoiler: number 3 is also worth his price).
4. Oscar (Shanghai SIPG) – $514,000
It was assumed for a pretty long time that Oscar was the best paid player in the world. He was also one of the first to move to the CSL. While his weekly wage of nearly $514,000 isn’t that bad, he doesn’t even get a top 3 spot on this list.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – $545,000
And this is only his wage, this isn’t counting his numerous endorsement deals. If we’d add that number, his wage would probably be a lot higher. Because even CR7 can never have enough money, right?
2. Carlos Tevez (Shanghai Shenhua) – $790,000
Seems pretty ridiculous that this guy isn’t the top earner, right? If it makes you feel any better, rumor has it that Tevez isn’t overly happy with his new Chinese overlords and regrets leaving his earlier team to go play in China.
1. Ezequiel Lavezzi (Hebei China Fortune) – $1,025,000
Yes, that’s slightly more than a million bucks every week. Now calculate how long it would take you to earn this at your current job and hate your life.