Soccer is one of the most popular league sports in the world. Fans come out in droves to watch their favorite teams play. The competition at times becomes so intense, that fights have been known to break out among the spectators. People take their soccer quite seriously. The sport, much like American football, is a high dollar industry. It brings in billions of dollars annually for team owners.
This initiates a drive among teams in the various leagues to seek out players with the very best potential to hurtle their teams to victory. Winning means success and there is a price tag associated with it. Teams are willing to pay top dollar for upping the odds on having a winning team, or at least an excellent season. This is why there is so much competition and why there are so many players lured away from one team to join another. Who wouldn’t go where they would make more money for doing the same things?
We count bonuses as a part of the annual salary because this is how it is viewed in the eyes of the tax-man. We’ve separated the endorsement money given by sponsors to show you the breakdown, but it has been included in the final annual earning amount, because it is directly related to their involvement in the sport. Successful players who are top notch performers in the sport are handsomely compensated for their participation.
Here are the 20 highest paid soccer players in 2017:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano is not only the highest paid soccer player in 2017, he is also one of the most popular. Ronaldo is credited with leading his team to victory on numerous occasions. He is not only well loved by fans, he’s a top notch player who consistently delivers when the chips are down. It is no wonder that his contract places him at the top of the highest paid soccer players list.
The veteran player earns an annual salary of $58 million which includes agreed upon bonuses per his contract with the team. He brings in an additional $35 million a year in endorsements from sponsors Nike, XTrade, Pestrana Hotel Group, Tag Heuer, Abbot, Herbalife and Nubia. The Portuguese player of Real Madrid is currently under a contract agreement to play with the team until 2021, at which time, he will be 36. He shared that he hopes to re-up and enter into a new contract that will keep him in the game until he reaches the age of 41.
It is worth noting that Nike has recently signed a contract deal with Ronaldo that includes a lifetime endorsement agreement. It is estimated that this deal could be valued at $1 billion dollars throughout its run. Nike has only made this agreement with two other people in its history, one of them being Michael Jordan. It is because Nike was the benefactor of social media revenues that topped $474 million dollars thanks to their endorsement of Ronaldo. He’s the company’s cash cow in a manner of speaking and they have no problems treating him right over the deal.
2. Lionel Messi
Messi is a favorite player who gives Ronaldo a run for his money in popularity with fans. He’s a successful Soccer player from Argentina for Barcelona, who comes in at the second highest paid in the world. Messi and Ronaldo are both top rated players who come in close to even with the groups of followers that they have amassed. These two players have made some of the most significant contributions to the game of soccer, and in particular, they’ve been good for their respective teams.
Messi’s salary and bonuses gross him $53 million per year. In a vein that is related to his popularity in the sport, his sponsors pay him an additional $27 million in endorsements. Sponsors include Adidas, Gatorade and Tata Motors. Messi brings in a total of $80 million per year.
In a side note, Messi was under a five year endorsement contract with EA Sports. The contract has since lapsed, but it’s not affecting his financial outlook one bit. Messi had previously been featured on the cover of EA’s FIFA video game, which went world-wide on four occasions.
3. Neymar, Jr.
Neymar, Jr. of Barcelona is from the country of Brazil. He is the third highest paid soccer player for 2017. His current annual salary with bonuses is $15 million. His sponsors, which are Oreo, Gillette, Nike, Red Bull and Police help him in bringing in an additional $22 million per year in endorsements. His total annual income is a whopping $37 million a year. P.S. that doesn’t even include the new deal he just reached which will make him the higher paid soccer player in the world which will pay him over $260 million for 5 years.
4. Gareth Bale
Gareth plays for Real Madrid. Bale hails from Wales and is the fourth highest paid player for 2017. His salary along with bonuses is $23 million. He brings in an additional $11 million per year in
endorsements from his sponsors. He represents Adidas, Konami and Foot Locker, who are his major sponsors. Plus you’d have to think with his hairstyle that he’s got Shampoo and Conditioner sponsors too.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The Manchester United star is under contract with the team for a $27 million a year agreement for salary and bonuses. Ibrahimovic is a citizen of the country of Sweden. He is backed by big name sponsors Volvo and Vitamin Well who pay him an additional $5 million per year in endorsements. When all is said and done, the popular soccer player brings in a total of $32 million per year. Ibrahimovic also has his own personal line of sports apparel, but we didn’t count his income here.
6. Wayne Rooney
Rooney has an agreement with the Manchester United team that pays him $17.3 million a year in salary and bonuses. His major sponsor is Nike which pays him an additional $6 million per year for a total of $23.6 million a year. In 2007, Rooney was the top paid soccer player in the world. It’s good to see that he’s still doing well ten years later, coming in sixth place. It’s worth noting however, that his play has significantly declined since his prime.
7. Luis Suarez
Suarez is a team Barcelona player. His home country is Uruguay. He is paid $17.3 million a year by the team in salary and bonuses. Major sponsors Adidas and Pepsi pay him an additional $6 million annually in endorsements. This brings him into the position of seventh highest paid soccer player in 2017, bringing in the same amount as famed veteran Wayne Rooney.
8. Sergio Aguero
Sergio is under contract with Manchester United. Aguero is a native of Argentina. He has signed a contractual agreement with the team for $14.6 million per year in salary and bonuses. His sponsors Puma and Pepsi pay him an additional $8 million a year in endorsements. When all is said, Sergio Aguero brings in $22.6 million for his significant contributions to the success of the team.
9. James Rodriguez
James is a player for team Real Madrid. His native country is Columbia. He is another highly popular player who makes some fairly significant impressive plays that benefit the team. His skill has earned him a contract that pays $14.9 million a year in salary and bonuses. His sponsors are Adidas and Calvin Klein, which bring in an additional $7 million in endorsements for a total annual income of $21.9 million.
10. Paul Pogba
Paul is a player on the Manchester United Team. He hails from the country of France. The team currently has him under contract for $17.2 million per year in salary and bonuses. His sponsor Adidas pays an additional $4 million annually in endorsements. When all is said, Paul Pogba currently brings in 21.2 million dollars a year in salary and endorsements. You could say that soccer has been good to him, but he’s also been very good for soccer. Pogba is just 24 years old and he joined Old Trafford after leaving the Italian club. They offered him a deal that was just too sweet to pass up. Manchester United loaded on the incentives to snag him for themselves. He played in 49 games and during the campaign, he scored a total of nine goals and lent his assistance on an additional 6 that were scored.
11. Angel DiMaria
Angel is a player for the Paris-Saint Germain team. He is from the country of Argentina. His contract agreement for the team is $17.5 million per year in salary and bonuses. He represents the big name sponsor Adidas, from which he brings in an additional $3 million a year in endorsements. His total earnings for his involvement in soccer are $20.5 million annually as of 2017. This makes him the eleventh highest paid soccer player for the year.
Hulk is a player for the Shanghai SIPG team. He is a native of Brazil who has performed spectacularly for his team. He is compensated very well for his contributions with a contract agreement that pays him $19.1 million a year in salary and bonuses. In addition to this, his sponsor Mizuno pays out the sum of $1 million per year in endorsements. His total annual income related to the sport of soccer is $20.1 million. Shanghai SIPC knew that he had the potential to bring what was needed to their team so they made him an offer that was too enticing to turn down. The forward player left the Russian Premier League Zenit to play for Shanghai.
13. Thiago Silva
Silva is under contract with the Paris-Saint Germain team. The Brazilian native is paid $18 million per year in salary and bonuses from the team. He receives an additional $2 million annually from his sponsors Nike and Nissan, for a total earnings of $20 million for 2017. Not bad for a guy who definitely could pass for a 15 year old at any teenage night club. Plus he’s only getting better with time.
14. Eden Hazard
Hazard plays for the Chelsea soccer team. He is a native of Belgium. His contract agreement assures his annual salary of $14.9 million a year in combined salary and bonuses. He is sponsored by the Nike corporation and this brings in an additional $4 million in endorsements for a total of $18.9 million as of 2017. Must be nice to be in this particular garden of Eden, yeah?
15. Graziano Pelle
Pelle is a player for the Shandong Luneng team. He is a citizen of the country of Italy. His contract agreement is for $17.1 million a year in salary and bonuses. His major sponsor is Nike, which pays him an additional $1 million a year. His total earnings thanks to the sport of Soccer for 2017 is $18.1 million.
Pelle formerly played for Southampton before being lured away by Shandong Luneng. Soccer is a high dollar industry and it’s a cutthroat game of finding the best players to increase your team’s odds of victory. Incentives reach high and it generally amounts to which team is willing to offer the best compensation in terms of salary and bonuses. Pelle went where he could get the best deal, as most professional athletes do.
16. Yaya Toure
Yaya Toure is tied with Graziano Pelle with the 15th and 16th spot being equal for highest paid soccer players for 2017. Toure is a member of the Manchester City team. He is a native of the Ivory Coast. His current contract pays out $15.1 million a year in salary and bonuses. His major sponsors are Nike and Nissan which contribute an additional $3 million a year in endorsement money. His total yearly earnings for 2017 are $18.1 million.
17. Cesc Fabregas
Cesc plays for the Chelsea team. He is a native of the country of Spain. His contract with Chelsea is an agreement for $13 million in salary and bonuses. He is well compensate by his major sponsor Puma in the amount of $5 million a year. Fabregas brings in a total of $18 million annually as of 2017.
18. Robin Van Persie
Robin Van Persie is a player for the Fenerbahce team. His home country is The Netherlands. The team compensates him in the amount of $15.8 million a year in salary and bonuses. His sponsor is the Adidas corporation which pays him an additional $2 million per year in endorsements. Van Persie’s total annual earnings from his soccer career are $17.8 million.
19. Gerard Pique
Pique is a player for the Barcelona soccer team. He is a native of Spain. He has signed an agreement with Barcelona to pay him $14.7 million a year in salary and bonuses. His sponsor is the Nike corporation, which pays him an additional $3 million a year for endorsements. His total annual earnings are $17.7 million.
20. Mesut Ozil
Ozil is a player for the Arsenal team. His home country is Germany. Arsenal compensates Ozil in the amount of $10.5 million a year in salary and bonuses. His sponsors are Mercedes-Benz and Adidas, which bring in an additional $7 million in endorsements. Ozil’s annual earnings from his soccer career as of 2017 are $17.5 million, which makes him the 20th highest paid soccer player in the world for the year.