Highest-paid footballers: Ronaldo beats Messi and Mbappe in record-breaking Al Nassr deal | Aici


Player salaries have been a source of interest for decades, as the world’s biggest stars have continued to command eye-watering salaries as their fame and profile have grown.

As the game continues to spread on the global stage, the stars of Europe’s biggest players have seen their bank balances rise, with annual records being broken on a regular basis.

The rivalry on, and off, the pitch between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has fueled this growth, with the pair still among the game’s top earners, despite being close to retirement.

However, the latest Forbes list of the world’s richest footballers shows the rise of the next generation of players challenging the financial dominance of Messi and Ronaldo.

But Ronaldo put everyone back in their place in December 2022 when it was announced that he would be joining Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr in a deal that made the five-time Ballon d’Or winner the highest-paid footballer in history.

Sporting News takes a look at the top 10 players on the ‘rich list’ based on the latest statistics for 2022.

MORE: All the details about Cristiano Ronaldo’s salary in Saudi Arabia

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

  • Country: In Portugal
  • Club: Al Nassr (Saudi Arabia)
  • Average Annual Income: £173m / $213m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $60m / £52.3m*

*Image before the Al Nassr contract was agreed

2. Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe PSG

Getty Images

  • Country: France
  • Club: Paris Saint-Germain (France)
  • Average Annual Income: $110m / £96m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $18m / £15.6m

3. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi PSG 2022

Getty Images

  • Country: In Argentina
  • Club: Paris Saint-Germain (France)
  • Average Annual Income: $65m / £56.7m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $55m / £48m

4. Neymar Jr.

Neymar also scored his eighth goal in Ligue 1 against Brest

(Getty Images)

  • Country: Brazil
  • Club: Paris Saint-Germain (France)
  • Average Annual Income: $55m / £48m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $32m / £27.9m

5. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah playing for Liverpool in the 2021-22 Premier League season

(Getty Images)

  • Country: Egypt
  • Club: Liverpool (England)
  • Average Annual Income: $35m / £30.5m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $18m / £15.7m

6. Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland from Man City

Getty Images

  • Country: in Norway
  • Club: Manchester City (England)
  • Average Annual Income: $35m / £30.5m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $4m / £3.5m

7. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski from Barcelona

Getty Images

  • Country: Poland
  • Club: Barcelona (Spain)
  • Average Annual Income: $27m / £23.5m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $8m / £7m

8. Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard
  • Country: In Belgium
  • Club: Real Madrid (Spain)
  • Average Annual Income: $27m / £23.5m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $4m / £3.5m

9. Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta from Spain
  • Country: Spain
  • Club: Vissel Kobe (Japan)
  • Average Annual Income: $25m / £21.8m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $5m / £4.4m

10. Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City

Getty Images

  • Country: In Belgium
  • Club: Manchester City (England)
  • Average Annual Income: $25m / £21.8m
  • Estimated Additional Income (off-field income): $4m / £3.5m





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