10 highest paid footballers in the world in 2022: Ronaldo 2nd, Messi 3rd…

Professional football is a lucrative business in 2022 and the 10 highest paid players on the planet – who play for clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool – rake in huge sums both in wages and sponsorship contracts.

Salaries for top footballers have risen exponentially in recent years, especially after huge multinationals, oligarchs and oil states entered the scene as club owners.

Players have also taken advantage of the game’s popularity to sign large sponsorship deals, which in some cases can earn them almost as much as their salary.

Here we take a look at the 10 highest earning football stars on the planet in 2022, with figures from Sportico’s Kurt Badenhausen*, an expert on professional sports earnings. Note: According to Sportico figures, we use US dollars as our currency.

10. Antoine Griezmann – $27.5 million ($22 million salary, $5.5 million endorsements)

Griezmann is in a very strange situation right now.

A clause in the contract Atletico signed to bring him back from Barcelona on loan states that if he plays more than half of the games he is available for during the entire two-year loan period, Atletico are obliged to pay 40 million euros to sign. him constantly. This clause also defines playing a game as playing 45 minutes or more.

As such, Atletico are only deploying him for around half an hour plus stoppage time in their games this season and are trying to renegotiate the clause with Barca at the same time.

Pretty unfortunate for Griezmann, but he’s still pocketing his $22m salary and will be fresh for France’s defense of their world title in Qatar, so we shouldn’t think he’s crying himself to sleep at night.

9. Kevin De Bruyne – $29 million ($25.5 million salary, $3.5 million endorsements)

De Bruyne has almost certainly been the best player in the world’s most lucrative league for the past five seasons and plays for a club owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family, so it would be weird if he wasn’t part of this top 10.

8. Raheem Sterling – $29.4 million ($21.4 million salary, $8 million endorsements)

While Sterling didn’t earn as much as De Bruyne at Man City and is still not at his new club Chelsea, his marketability puts him above the Belgian here.

Sterling has big deals with New Balance for his boots and with Apple for all his tech needs, while anyone reading this in the UK will have seen the England international standing in a neon green tunnel and encouraging them to shave in the halftime commercial break at one point.

7. Andres Iniesta – $30 million ($23 million, $7 million endorsements)

This one shocked us a bit. But the little man is big in Japan.

Former Barcelona star Iniesta has played for Vissel Jobe since 2018 and signed a new contract in 2021 which will keep him at the club until 2023. Given the salary on offer, it’s no surprise he decided to stay .

Iniesta also has sponsorship deals with major Japanese brands like Nissan, Asics and Konami as well as GeneLife, which is, according to their website, a company that “focuses on providing your personal genetic information to help you improve your health and lifestyle choices for disease prevention.

Sounds a bit Black Mirror if you ask us.

Either way, Iniesta’s immediate goal won’t be to advertise this product line, but to keep his team in the J1 League. As of this writing, Vissel Kobe is one point clear of the relegation zone with five games to play.

6. Eden Hazard – $31.1 million ($28.6 million salary, $2.5 million endorsements)

It was really, really not planned for Hazard at Real Madrid. Since his £103m move to the Spanish capital, the Belgian has scored just seven goals in three seasons and a few. Watching last season’s Champions League final from the bench must have been particularly infuriating.

As they were with Gareth Bale, Madrid are forced to pay a huge salary for a player who doesn’t feature regularly. However, they can only blame themselves.

READ MORE: La Liga’s 10 highest paid players for 22-23: Pique, Hazard, De Jong…

5. Mohamed Salah – $39.5 million ($24.5 million salary, $15 million endorsements)

Salah’s status as one of the most clinical strikers on the planet finally translated into cash and ringing bells when he signed a new three-year £350,000-a-week deal at Liverpool in August 2022 .

Due to his megastar status in Egypt and more generally in the MENA region, Salah also attracts very important endorsement deals with companies like Adidas, Pepsi, Vodafone and Uber.

After a slight dip in form at the end of last season, his manager Jurgen Klopp has predicted the Egyptian king will return to full throttle in 2022-23. It hasn’t happened yet, but we’re sure it will, maybe after the World Cup break.

4. Neymar – $91 million ($56 million salary, $35 million endorsements)

We are now in the real big leagues – the four players whose earnings set them apart from the rest of football and place them among the world’s richest athletes in any sport.

Neymar is the first and has the third highest salary in world football – which also happens to be the third highest salary at his club PSG.

Like so many footballers, the Brazilian plunged headfirst into the incomprehensible whirlwind of NFTs and crypto, releasing a “digital collection” with NFTSTAR, whoever they are.

He also spent over $1 million worth of crypto on two Bored Ape NFTs in one day in January 2022. That’s a lot of crypto.

3. Lionel Messi – $110 million ($62 million salary, $48 million endorsements)

He sometimes tops the list of highest-paid players, but Messi has now fallen to third.

Yet with endorsement deals for watches, soft drinks, telecommunications, sportswear, sports drinks, beer, video games, a state of petroleum and potato chips – and this being a year of World Cup to boot – we shouldn’t think he’ll be down the Job Center anytime soon.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo – $113 million ($53 million salary, $60 million endorsements)

Ronaldo has more Instagram followers than any other sportsman, celebrity or entertainer on the planet – 481 million, to be precise.

This means he can sell dandruff shampoo (and other stuff) to people all over the world, making him the highest earning footballer in endorsement deals, if not the highest overall.

Is he now more famous than a footballer? His only start in Manchester United’s six Premier League games so far this season suggests he is headed in that direction.

Cristiano Ronaldo smiles during the match between Manchester United and Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford, Manchester, July 2022.

READ MORE: The Premier League’s 10 highest paid players in 2022-23

1. Kylian Mbappe – $125 million ($105 million, $20 million endorsements)

For the first time in more than a decade, Messi and Ronaldo have been knocked out of the top spot of highest-earning footballers – and it was French wonderkid and Messi’s PSG team-mate Mbappe who struck.

Mbappe recently revealed to The New York Times that French President Emmanuel Macron personally took to the wind tunnel to convince him not to leave PSG for Real Madrid this summer.

Mbappe said: “He said to me, ‘I don’t want you to leave now. You are so important to the country. Of course, when the president tells you that, it matters. »

We imagine the fact that PSG knocked a $105m-a-year contract off the table also mattered.

*You can see the Sportico article here.


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