Top tier footballers are often paid ridiculous amounts of money each year. Sometimes it’s even when they are sitting on the bench, doing absolutely nothing for their club. But how do the wages compare to the amounts paid out 10 years ago?
Back in 2010, we looked at the wages of some of the best footballers across the world. It was the build-up to the World Cup and players were signing new contracts, endorsement deals and receiving eyewatering amounts of money.
At the time, the top wages were dominated by the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, with only four Premier League players making the top ten. They were Carlos Tevez on £13.8 million for Manchester City, Frank Lampard on £12.8 million for Chelsea, John Terry on £10 million for Chelsea and Steven Gerrard on £9 million for Liverpool. Of course, these weren’t just salaries, the figures also included endorsements such as boot deals.
Messi led the way with a staggering £29.6 million and Ronaldo was just behind on £27 million. The two players were at the peak of their game at this point, but are they still the highest paid footballers in the world?
Even if they are the best players in the world, is it fair that they get so much when so many of the smaller clubs struggle to break even on a weekly basis?
2020 Top Earners In Football
If the money being out to footballers in 2010 was eyewatering, it is a drop in the ocean compared to the wages on offer in 2020. Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo and Messi are still the top earners, but both are on far more money now than they were 10 years ago.
Lionel Messi is the runaway leader in 2020, earning a huge $127 million per year in wages and endorsements. As his Instagram posts show, he has a deal with Pepsi, who currently have Mo Salah, Raheem Sterling and Paul Pogba on their books as well. On top of this, Lionel Messi also has a lifelong deal with Adidas.
Deals like this put Messi as the highest-earning athlete in the world, not just footballer.
In second place again is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward earnt $109 million last year with $44 million of it coming from endorsements. No other footballer earned as much from sponsorship as the Juventus player. He is currently sponsored by Nike as well as Herbalife and EA Sports.
Neymar takes the third spot in what seems more like a Balon d’Or list than a top earners list. In 2019 he earnt $105 million, $75 million of which was from PSG. The French club are owned by The State Of Qatar. Since they took over in 2011 they have signed the two most expensive players in history, Neymar for €222 million and Mbappe for a reported €180 million.
In fourth place is Gareth Bale with a reported $34.6 million. In 2013, Bale made history when Real Madrid broke the world transfer record to sign the Tottenham forward. The Wales star agreed a £300,000 per week, six-year deal after sealing an £85.3m (100m euros) move. That eclipsed the £80m Real Madrid paid Manchester United for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.
Finally, in fifth place of the highest paid footballers in the world, is aa Premier League player. Paul Pogba, playing for Manchester United, earned $29.5million with $25 million of it coming from his wages.
Are The Wages Worth It?
When comparing this too 10 years ago, it makes for astonishing reading. Football wages and earnings have accelerated at a ridiculous rate and it doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon! But for all the money these footballers are paid, do the clubs recuperate the costs?
In 2018 Manchester United sold 2,850,000 club jerseys. Pogba’s name graced more Utd jerseys than anyone else that year, putting him third in the world for shirt sales. He was eclipsed by Ronaldo in second place, who combined with Gareth Bale, sold 2.29m shirts worldwide for Real Madrid at the time. And, proving it’s all about the player and not the club, when Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus the team sold $60 million worth of his jerseys in 24 hours.
And topping the list for shirt sales is Lionel Messi. His name is on the back of more club and country jerseys than any other footballer in the world. When he launched his own official store online in April 2019, it took only three days to surpass the total monthly sales of the official Real Madrid and Manchester City online stores in China.
So in terms of the revenue these footballers generate for the clubs, their wages seem more than worth it.
With the outbreak of the Coronavirus hitting the sporting industry hard, the Euro 2020 tournament has now become the Euro 2021 tournament.
Whenever a new tournament comes around, brands bring out new endorsements and products to share on the world stage. Next summer we could see some new names near the top of the list.
Paddy Power has odds available on the Euro 2021 and currently, England are the favourites at 9/2. Pogba’s France is just behind at 5/1 and should the Frenchman help guide his side to another victory, he could be in for another huge payday.