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Top 10 Highest-Paid Footballers In The World 2023 And Their Earnings By Forbes



Top 10 Highest-Paid Footballers In The World 2023 And Their Earnings

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Football, often hailed as the world’s favorite sport, isn’t just about the thrill of goals and passion on the pitch. It’s also about the staggering earnings top players command off it. Curious about which football stars are leading the pack in terms of earnings this year?

You’re in the right spot! We’ve thoroughly examined Forbes’ annual list to break down who’s making what.

In this detailed guide, we’ll spotlight the top earners, delving into both their on-field and lucrative off-field ventures. Eager to discover which footballer tops the charts? Let’s dive into the numbers!

How Does Forbes Calculate Footballers’ Net Worth?

Forbes, the renowned financial magazine, consistently leads in reporting the wealth of the world’s most affluent individuals and businesses. Their methodology for ranking the world’s highest-paid soccer players is comprehensive and transparent. This approach considers the combined total of on-field earnings for the 2023-24 season, which includes base salaries, bonuses, and in some cases, club-based image rights agreements. But their analysis extends beyond just the pitch. Forbes also factors in off-field earnings, which encompass annual cash inflows from endorsements, licensing, appearances, memorabilia, and businesses the players run. Such thoroughness ensures the accuracy of the figures they report.

Moreover, Forbes doesn’t solely depend on publicly available databases. They actively engage with industry insiders and use these insights to amass data. This detailed and rigorous data collection is why Forbes’ rankings are held in high regard globally. It’s crucial to point out that their figures don’t account for investment incomes, such as dividends, nor do they deduct taxes or agent fees. Yet, their reported numbers still offer a trustworthy depiction of the players’ earnings.

Top 10 Highest-Paid Footballers in 2023: A Comprehensive Breakdown

NameDescriptionAgeTeamNationalityOn-Field EarningsOff-Field Earnings
Cristiano RonaldoAppeared in promotional videos for Al Nassr and Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou boxing match. Also promoted his partnerships with Clear, Herbalife, and Binance.38Al NassrPortugal$200 million$60 million
Lionel MessiIncreased ticket demand for Inter Miami and other MLS clubs. Subject of an Apple TV+ documentary “Messi Meets America”.36Inter MiamiArgentina$65 million$70 million
Neymar Jr.Scored his first goal for Al Hilal and welcomed his second child. Continues to partner with brands like Puma, Konami, and Red Bull.31Al HilalBrazil$80 million$32 million
Kylian MbappéContract issues with Paris-Saint Germain and rumored to be pursued by Real Madrid.24Paris Saint-GermainFrance$90 million$20 million
Karim BenzemaMoved to Saudi Arabia, wanting to be in a Muslim country for personal reasons.35Al IttihadFrance$100 million$6 million
Erling HaalandScored a record 52 goals last season. Has a Nike deal and featured on the cover of the EA Sports FC 2024 video game.23Manchester CityNorway$46 million$12 million
Mohamed SalahNearly transferred to Al Ittihad for $190 million but remained at Liverpool. Has a signature boot with Adidas and was part of a Harvard Business School study.31LiverpoolEgypt$35 million$18 million
Sadio ManéLeading goal scorer for Senegal’s national team. Signed a long-term extension with New Balance.31Al NassrSenegal$48 million$4 million
Kevin De BruyneSigned an endorsement deal with McDonald’s in Belgium. Recovering from hamstring surgery.32Manchester CityBelgium$35 million$4 million
Harry KaneSigned a four-year deal with Bayern Munich and has aspirations to become an NFL kicker. Partnered with Fanatics for autographs and memorabilia.30Bayern MunichEngland$26 million$10 million
Robert LewandowskiScored 33 goals last season and hired CAA for commercial representation. Has partnerships with Nike, Spotify, and Oanda. Commemorative coins made in his honor in Poland.35FC BarcelonaPoland$24 million$10 million

Top 10 Highest-Paid Footballers In The World 2023

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $260 Million

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At 38, Cristiano Ronaldo stands as football’s highest earner in 2023. With an astonishing $260 Million under his belt, Ronaldo’s impeccable skills on the field have garnered him $200 Million, with the remaining $60 Million attributed to his off-field endeavors. Currently shining for Al Nassr, Ronaldo’s remarkable stature extends beyond the pitch. His recent appearances in promotional campaigns – from celebrating Saudi’s National Day to endorsing major boxing matches in Riyadh – underscore his immense marketing appeal. Brands like Clear, Herbalife, and Binance vie for his endorsement, a testament to his continued marketability.

2. Lionel Messi – $135 Million

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Lionel Messi’s relocation to Inter Miami was a significant moment in the football world. Earning a sumptuous $135 Million this year—$65 Million from his on-pitch mastery and a staggering $70 Million off it—Messi’s brand remains as powerful as ever. His influence is evident: ticket sales skyrocketed across the MLS, even for matches he wasn’t playing. Such is the ‘Messi Effect’. Beyond this, his journey from European football to the MLS has captivated many, resulting in the Apple TV+ documentary, “Messi Meets America”.

3. Neymar Jr. – $112 Million

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At 31, Neymar Jr. continues to dazzle both on and off the pitch, boasting earnings of $112 Million. Transferring to Al Hilal, he secured $80 Million from his on-field prowess, supplemented by an additional $32 Million off-field. October was particularly notable for Neymar, as he marked his first goal for his new club and celebrated the birth of his second child. Off the pitch, his commercial appeal remains strong, with sponsorships ranging from Puma to Red Bull. His recent alliance with the Portuguese horse breeding entity, Team Campline, underscores his diverse off-field ventures.

4. Kylian Mbappé – $110 Million

Kylian Mbappé
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Kylian Mbappé, at just 24, is already among football’s elite earners, amassing $110 Million this year. Playing for Paris Saint-Germain, he’s earned $90 Million on the field and an additional $20 Million from off-field engagements. Despite tensions regarding his contract renewal with PSG, and rumors surrounding his childhood dream to play for Real Madrid, Mbappé continues to be a formidable force in football. As the next transfer season approaches, whispers of Madrid’s interest are growing louder, leading to speculation about his future.

5. Karim Benzema – $106 Million

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Following closely is Karim Benzema with $106 Million, of which $100 Million stems from his on-field contributions while playing for Al Ittihad. His transition to Saudi Arabia came with personal reasons; the reigning Ballon d’Or winner expressed his desire to be in a Muslim-majority nation, connecting deeper with the culture and people. Benzema’s decision highlights the unique intersections of personal beliefs, cultural contexts, and professional choices in the world of football.

6. Erling Haaland – $58 Million

Erling Haaland
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Erling Haaland, the prodigious 23-year-old striker, has secured a spot in this elite list with earnings of $58 Million. Representing Manchester City, Haaland’s on-field contributions amounted to $46 Million, further augmented by his off-field earnings of $12 Million. Last season’s record-breaking 52 goals have not only garnered attention from clubs like Real Madrid but have also reignited contract negotiations with Manchester City. His commercial footprint includes a substantial deal with Nike and the honor of gracing the cover of the EA Sports FC 2024 video game.

7. Mohamed Salah – $53 Million

Mohamed Salah
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Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s Egyptian king, raked in $53 Million this year. While on-field heroics for Liverpool contributed $35 Million, his off-field engagements added another $18 Million. His near-record transfer to Al Ittihad became one of the most talked-about events of the year. Alongside this, Salah’s partnership with Adidas and a unique Harvard Business School study examining his contract negotiations, highlight the blend of footballing genius and commercial appeal that Salah embodies.

8. Sadio Mané – $52 Million

Sadio Mané
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Another football maestro, Sadio Mané, made his mark with earnings of $52 Million. Playing for Al Nassr, his on-field earnings were $48 Million, supplemented by $4 Million off-field. Recognized as one of Senegal’s greatest footballers, Mané has consistently displayed prowess both nationally and at club level. His partnership with New Balance further testifies to his market appeal and commercial traction.

9. Kevin De Bruyne – $39 Million

Kevin De Bruyne
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Kevin De Bruyne, the Belgian maestro and midfield dynamo for Manchester City, earned a total of $39 Million. Out of this, his on-field prowess netted him $35 Million and the remaining $4 Million came from off-the-field engagements. A significant highlight this year was his major endorsement deal with McDonald’s. However, fans of the Belgian star have been missing his regular appearances on the pitch, as he’s currently recuperating from a hamstring surgery.

10. Harry Kane – $36 Million

 Harry Kane
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The English sharpshooter Harry Kane finds himself in the elite top 10 with earnings of $36 Million. Having shifted his allegiances to Bayern Munich this year, Kane’s on-the-field contributions stood at $26 Million, coupled with another $10 Million earned off the field. Despite his well-documented aspirations to delve into the NFL as a kicker, his immediate future seems firmly rooted in football. His expanding commercial portfolio saw the addition of a multi-year partnership with Fanatics, marking him as the first British athlete to exclusively collaborate with their autographs and memorabilia division.

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