Have you ever wondered why soccer players get paid so much money? The reason boils down to the concept of demand and supply. According to Pledge Sports, soccer is the most-watched sport, with a fan base of 2.5 billion. That means the soccer players significantly benefit from ticket sales due to the high attendance. Besides ticket sales, soccer players also earn a lot depending on the club they are playing for. If some are lucky, they can also be paid through endorsements. Now that we know why they become so rich, we need to identify the soccer players who have been lucky to become rich. Here is a list of the top 20 richest soccer players in 2022 and their net worth below.
20. Luis Suarez ($70 million)
Luis is an Uruguayan player known for his aggressiveness on the field. He plays for the Uruguayan National Team and FC Barcelona. His first international debut was in the 2007 U-20 World Cup. He played so impressively in the World Cup that Groningen and Ajax wanted to sign him up. Ultimately, he signed a five-year contract and a 7.5 million euros deal with Ajax. Later on, he joined Liverpool FC, where he would end up winning the ‘Golden Boot’ award. Eventually, he joined Barcelona FC in 2014.
19. Givanildo Vieira de Sousa ($70 million)
Givanildo is famously known as “Hulk.” He plays for Atlético Mineiro and the Brazil National Team as a forward. First, he played for Vitória and later went to play in Japan for three years. After that, he joined Porto and helped the club win ten titles between 2010 and 2011. In 2012, he joined FC Zenit for a $63 million deal. Later in 2016, he bagged a $61 million deal with Shanghai Port FC.
18. Franck Ribery ($70 million)
Franck plays for Salernitana as a winger on the left side. He is lauded for his precise passing, energy, and skill. He made his debut in Conti Boulogne in 1989 as a youth player. Seven years later, he joined Lille. However, his big break would come in 2007 when he joined Bayern Munich for a club-record fee of $25 million. Under Bayern, he won one FIFA World Cup game, nine Bundesliga titles, and one UEFA Champions title.
17. David De Gea ($75 million)
David is a Spanish player who serves as the goalkeeper for Manchester United and the Spain National Team. With a salary of $24 million, he became the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world. First, he joined Atlético Madrid in 2009 as a goalkeeper. He was able to help the club win the UEFA Super Cup and the UEFA Europa League in 2010. His victories attracted Manchester United, who signed him for $23 million.
16. Sergio Ramos ($80 million)
Sergio is a Spanish player from Camas. He is often regarded as one of the best central defenders. In his debut season, he appeared in 41 games and scored his first goal in the UEFA Cup. Later on, he played in three Euro Cups and three World Cups in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Real Madrid was impressed with his gameplay and bought him for 27 million Euros. Currently, he is the club’s captain.
15. Mario Balotelli ($80 million)
Mario is an Italian player who plays for Adana Demirspor and the Italy National Team as a striker. He began playing professionally at 15 for Lumezzane. Barcelona was impressed and even wanted to sign him up. However, he signed with Inter Milan in 2006. The following year, he made his debut in the Serie A game. After scoring many goals in the game, he began to attract a lot of attention from the Italian press. In 2010, he joined Manchester and Inter Milan in 2013.
14. Robert Lewandowski ($85 million)
He is a Polish soccer player known for being a striker for Bayern Munich and the Polish National Team. With his salary of $30 million in 2020, he became one of the highest paid soccer players. He began playing as an unregistered player for a local club called Partyzant Leszno. Later on, he joined MKS Varsovia Warsaw as a teenager and remained in the club for 7 years. His first major break was in 2008, when he played as a substitute during the UEFA Cup.
13. Mohamed Salah ($90 million)
Mohamed is an Egyptian player who plays for Liverpool FC and the Egypt National Team. He is known for his speed, dribbling, and finishing. In 2012, he signed a four-year contract with Basel. He was able to propel his team to the semi-finals. Though they lost, reaching the semi-finals is still considered an achievement. His major break came in 2017 when he signed a long-term contract with Liverpool for $62 million. After joining the club, he became its leading scorer.
12. Kylian Mbappe ($95 million)
A significant achievement of his is being one of the youngest French players to score a goal in a World Cup (2018). Additionally, he also made history by earning so much money as a teenager. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he earned nearly $25 million at 19. Today, he earns a base salary of $28 million and $14 million in endorsements.
11. Eden Hazard ($100 million)
Eden is a Belgian player who plays for Chelsea FC and the National Team of Belgium. He is widely known for his defensive playing style. Most of his coaches and colleagues feel he is as good as Messi and Cristiano. He made his professional debut in 2007. Around the 2008-2009 season, he became a senior team manager for Lille. In 2014, he had signed a contract with Lille to be with them for life. However, the following year, he signed a five-year contract with Chelsea. While in Chelsea, he won the ‘PFA Player of the Year’ award and Chelsea’s ‘Player of the Year’ award.
10. Andres Iniesta ($120 million)
He is a Spanish player who is a captain and midfielder for Vissel Kobe. Before joining Vissel Kobe, he had spent most of his career at Barcelona, serving as a captain for three seasons. He first joined Barcelona in 2001. In 2004, people noticed his improvement, and he went on to receive many honors. For instance, he was named the best player of the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League. Also, he got the Marca Legend Award in 2011. Andres had been playing for Barcelona for 22 years before moving to Vissel Kobe in 2018. He signed a three-year contract with them for $30 million per year.
9. Mesut Ozil ($120 million)
Mesut is a German player and the captain of a Turkish club called Fenerbahçe. He plays as an attacking midfielder, and he is known for his passing skills, creativity and technical skills. In 2010, he first joined Real Madrid. Since joining the club, it has been consistently winning. For further proof of how good he is, he helped Germany win the World Cup in 2014. Besides Real Madrid, he has also played for Arsenal, where he earned a lot of money.
8. Paul Pogba ($125 million)
Paul has won four major titles: FIFA Under-20 World Cup, ‘Serie A’ awards, ‘UEFA Team of the Year’ and Supercoppa Italiana. Presently, he plays for Manchester United and the French National Team. He discovered his soccer prowess at only 6 years old. He would later join the ‘US Torcy’ club for the ‘Under-13’ team before officially joining Manchester United in 2009. After that, he left Manchester United to play for Juventus. However, he signed a contract worth $ 111 million with Manchester United in 2016.
7. Gareth Bale ($145 million)
He is a Welsh player who plays for Real Madrid as a winger. People have described him as a player with exceptional speed and great crossing ability. After completing high school, he joined Southampton FC in 2006. In the same year, he won the “BBC Wales Young Sports Personality Of the Year.” Many clubs wanted him, but he settled with Real Madrid in 2013. To this day, he is still in the club.
6. Alexandre Pato ($145 million)
Pato is a Brazilian player who plays as a forward for Orlando City. He made his debut in Internacional in 2006, when he was 16. Despite facing older and more experienced soccer players, he emerged the top scorer and even defeated Gremio at 4-0. Due to his victory, he was included in the Internacional squad. The squad would then win the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After the World Cup, he joined AC Milan. He scored 18 goals in 42 matches and received the Golden Boy Award. In 2016, he played for Chelsea on a loan deal. After that, he played for many other clubs but eventually settled for Orlando City in 2021.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($190 million)
Zlatan is a Swedish player who plays as a forward for LA Galaxy. He is known for his accurate striking ability, making him a prolific goal scorer. According to Sports Adda, he is the third-most decorated player in the world. He began his major league career in 2002 when he joined Ajax. He scored five goals for the club, which earned him the ‘Goal of the Tournament’ honor in 2004. After that, Zlatan switched clubs but settled with Manchester United in 2016.
4. Neymar Jr. ($200 million)
Neymar began playing soccer in the Brazilian streets before he got his break as a professional player in 2009. In 2009, he joined Santos FC and quickly became a valuable scorer. As a result, he was highly sought after by many clubs. Neymar remained at Santos since the salary was high compared to what other clubs wanted to offer him. Finally, he joined Barcelona in 2013 and scored 39 goals, much to everyone’s amazement.
3. Lionel Messi ($400 million)
Messi is often revered for his ability to dribble the ball past his opponents and his goal-scoring records. Like Cristiano, he started playing professionally at 16 when he joined FC Barcelona. Later, he would lead Barcelona to capture the Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, and La Liga titles. Consequently, he became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo ($500 million)
He is often regarded as the greatest player of all time, though Messi fans may disagree. Currently, he plays for Juventus and the Portugal national team. His professional career took off when he was only 16. At the time, he was signed for $12 million to play for Manchester United. He played as a midfielder, and his skills grew as he played for other teams like Real Madrid. He scored so many goals in Real Madrid that many clubs wanted to buy him.
1. Faiq Bolkiah ($20 billion)
When you ask an average soccer fan who the richest soccer player is, few will mention Faiq. Most people will think of either Cristiano or Messi. Currently, he holds the title as a soccer player with the highest net worth in the world. Part of his wealth does not come from soccer. For instance, his uncle is the Sultan of Brenei; hence easy to see why he is rich. Currently, he is the midfielder for Chonburi and captain of the Brunei National Team. He began his soccer career in 2009 with Southampton FC. He remained in the club until 2011. In 2014, he signed a two-year contract with Chelsea. Before joining Chelsea, he had also played for Reading and Arsenal. His gameplay improved when he joined Leicester in 2016. He was able to score the first goal for the team.
You could be aspiring to play soccer professionally or know someone who wants to pursue it professionally. If you are an avid soccer player, you should not give up. To date, most parents think their children shouldn’t pursue soccer. Usually, they will encourage them to study hard in class. Though studying is important, parents should encourage their children to pursue a career in soccer if they are passionate about it. Your child could be as rich as any soccer player on this list by pursuing soccer. However, you can encourage your child to invest wisely if they become rich. After all, most clubs do not sign players in their mid-thirties.