Highest Paid Football Players

Football, undoubtedly the most beloved sport worldwide (though some might call it soccer – we’ll let that slide), boasts an estimated fanbase exceeding 3.5 billion people. Only cricket comes close with 2.5 billion fans.

The immense popularity of football has translated into astronomical salaries for its top players, with earnings reaching surreal heights that show no signs of plateauing.

Now, let’s delve into the realm of football’s highest earners in 2024. These players not only excel on the field but also command staggering paychecks and lucrative endorsements that underscore their global appeal.

Highest-Paid Footballers In The World 2024

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo
  2. Neymar JR
  3. Karim Benzema
  4. Kylian Mbappé
  5. Lionel Messi
  6. Riyad Mahrez
  7. Sadio Mané
  8. Oscar
  9. Kalidou koulibaly
  10. Harry Kane


Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, now playing for Al Nassr, commands a jaw-dropping salary of £173 million per year. With a career spanning over two decades, Ronaldo has etched his name in history as the first player to score in five World Cups, solidifying his position near the pinnacle of the highest-paid footballers globally.

In the summer of 2021, Ronaldo made headlines by becoming the highest-paid player in the history of the English Premier League when he rejoined his former club Manchester United on a two-year deal. However, his stint with United ended amidst mixed results.

His recent transfer to Al Nassr, motivated by his desire for new challenges after achieving immense success in Europe, has seen Ronaldo’s earnings soar to an astronomical $200 million annually.

As a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Ronaldo’s move has sparked considerable debate, yet it undeniably represents a colossal payday for the Portuguese football icon.



Neymar Jr’s move from PSG to Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal has catapulted him to the pinnacle of football earnings, making him the highest-paid player globally by a considerable margin.

His staggering £86 million annual salary doesn’t even include his earnings from commercial ventures, which are set to elevate his total income to unprecedented levels.

In addition to his salary, Neymar will benefit from a range of perks provided by his Saudi employers, such as a fleet of luxury cars, a private jet, and a lavish mansion complete with a personal swimming pool. This arrangement suggests a lifestyle that accommodates Neymar’s well-known penchant for extravagant living and vibrant socializing.

While Neymar’s career has faced criticism for perceived underachievement on the field, especially compared to the high expectations set early in his career, his financial achievements are unparalleled. As the highest-paid footballer in history, Neymar’s move to Al Hilal marks a milestone not only in his career but in the broader context of football economics.



During their tenure at Real Madrid, Karim Benzema often operated in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow. Despite now playing for different clubs in Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo still holds a slight edge in salary.

On the field, Benzema may prove to be more effective than Ronaldo. Not only is the French striker three years younger, but his club, Al-Ittihad, currently holds the title of Saudi Arabia’s champions. Al-Ittihad is widely regarded as the most successful team in Saudi football history.

The addition of Benzema, known for his brilliance, positions Al-Ittihad as favorites to defend their championship next season. With Benzema earning £85 million annually, expectations are high for the club to deliver notable results.



Kylian Mbappe’s move to Real Madrid marks a significant chapter in his career, solidifying his status as one of the highest-paid footballers globally. His reported salary in Madrid is set around GBP 250,000 per week, translating to an impressive annual income.

After-tax deductions in the Spanish capital, Mbappe’s post-tax earnings are estimated at GBP 12.8 million annually. This figure underlines his financial stature in the footballing world.

Beyond his base salary, Mbappe is expected to receive a substantial joining bonus as part of his transfer deal to Real Madrid. This bonus, though undisclosed, is anticipated to be a noteworthy addition to his overall compensation package.

Mbappe’s decision to join Real Madrid signifies not only a significant financial move but also a strategic career choice. Madrid’s prestigious history and competitive platform provide Mbappe with an ideal stage to further showcase his exceptional talent and vie for top honors in European football.

At just 23 years old, Mbappe’s career trajectory has been remarkable, with numerous accolades and achievements already under his belt. His move to Madrid is expected to elevate both his profile and earning potential, aligning him with the elite ranks of the highest-paid athletes globally.

As he embarks on this new journey with Real Madrid, football enthusiasts eagerly anticipate Mbappe’s continued success and contributions to the sport at its highest level.


Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time, commands a salary that mirrors his legendary status in the sport.

When Messi transitioned from his lucrative PSG contract to join MLS club Inter Miami, he opted for a pay cut. Despite turning down a substantial offer from the Saudi league, Messi’s move to the United States ensures he remains one of the highest-paid players in MLS.

In addition to his competitive salary, Messi stands to earn millions through lucrative commercial endorsements. His decision to join Inter Miami also offers him the opportunity to collaborate closely with David Beckham, a notable figure in football and beyond.

Overall, Messi’s move to MLS not only secures his financial standing but also provides him with new avenues for personal and professional growth, further solidifying his legacy in the global football community.



Riyad Mahrez secured a lasting place in Premier League history as the standout player during Leicester City’s remarkable Premier League victory in 2016.

Following his transition to Manchester City, Mahrez’s career path may have lacked some of the romanticism of his earlier triumphs, yet his impressive collection of trophies undoubtedly outweighs any sentimental considerations.

Moving forward, his decision to join Al Ahli in Saudi Arabia represented a logical progression for a player who had already achieved significant success in English football.


Sadio Mane

Similar to Mahrez, Sadio Mané is an exhilarating forward who excelled at a smaller Premier League club before making a move to a footballing powerhouse and achieving success across various competitions.

His journey took him from Southampton to Liverpool, where he played a pivotal role in their Premier League and Champions League triumphs alongside Mo Salah and Robert Firmino.

In 2023, Mané made the transition to Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, where he now partners with Ronaldo in what could have been considered a dream strike force several years earlier.

His contributions to Liverpool have endeared him to the club’s fans, who fondly remember his crucial role in their major achievements.



There was a surprise when Oscar made his move to China in 2016, especially since he was still at the peak of his career.

Despite this, reports suggest that his earnings in Shanghai were more than three times what he would have made if he had stayed at his previous club.

While Oscar may have sacrificed a more prominent footballing career, the financial gains, including the likelihood of owning a private island, likely provide some consolation for not achieving a more illustrious trophy collection.



Indeed, we return to Saudi Arabia. Kalidou Koulibaly, the Senegalese center-back, made a move from Chelsea to Al Hilal in 2023, where he will earn a substantial £30 million annually.

Despite an impressive eight-year tenure at Naples, Koulibaly struggled to find his form at Stamford Bridge. He’s among several players who haven’t quite met expectations at Chelsea in recent years.

In his early thirties, Koulibaly still has the potential to excel at the highest levels of the game. Understandably, he opted to secure such a lucrative paycheck before considering retirement.


Harry Kane

One of the long-standing partnerships in English football came to an end when Harry Kane departed Tottenham Hotspur for Bayern Munich, a powerhouse in Germany.

Despite achieving the status of Tottenham’s all-time leading goalscorer, Kane couldn’t secure a trophy with his childhood club, prompting his move to Germany in 2023.

Whether Kane will finally lift some silverware remains uncertain, but his prospects have significantly improved. Now, the focus shifts to seeing if he can achieve glory with England.


These 10 footballers epitomize success not only in their on-field performances but also in their ability to leverage their talents into substantial financial rewards.

Their salaries, influenced by their footballing prowess and marketability, are complemented by lucrative endorsement deals with global brands.

As they continue to excel in their careers, their earnings are expected to rise, reaffirming their status as some of the highest-paid athletes globally.

Football’s economic power and the global appeal of its top players continue to redefine sports as a lucrative profession for those who reach the pinnacle of the game.