In case you weren’t aware, soccer happens to be the most popular sport in the world. It might surprise you, but it’s true. And as a result of this fact, the best players alive reap major rewards, and can cost new teams a pretty penny. As if you needed another reason to be jealous of professional athletes, now you’re about to see how well it pays to be a professional footballer.
Goal.com recently released their annual “Goal Rich List,” and it provides a detailed look at which players make the most amount of money, and where their wealth comes from.
Here’s a look at the top ten richest soccer players on the planet.
10. Frank Lampard
Total wealth: $90 million
Although Frank Lampard is currently playing with New York FC in the MLS, it was during his 14-year career in the English Premier League — 13 with Chelsea and one with Manchester City — where his fortune truly took off. During his stint at the game’s highest level, Lampard pulled in over €35 million in total earnings while matching that mark with an outstanding property portfolio. Throw in the fact that he has also been repped by both Nike and Adidas, and it’s easy to see how Lampard was able to crack the top 10.
Total wealth: $93 million
It’s been some time since Ronaldinho tore up the pitch as a member of Barcelona, but that hasn’t stopped the former Ballon d’Or winner from raking in the big bucks. During a recent stint with Atletico Mineiro, he was pulling €2.7 million a year, and now as a member of Querétaro FC, Ronaldinho has an opportunity to earn an additional €2.5 million per year in performance-based incentives. Of course, when it comes to the greatness of Ronaldinho, this is how we’ll always remember him.
Total wealth: $95 million
Raul may no longer suiting up for Real Madrid, where he was making €7 million a year in salary, but that hasn’t affected his bank account one iota. Aside from a brief stint with New York Cosmos, Raul makes his mark — and money — off the field, with business ventures such as Scar Sport Europe (invests in renewable energies), Luri (a property company), and Cadmus (an energy company). As you can see, it’s good to be Raul.
7. Samuel Eto’o
Total wealth: $98 million
At one point in time, Samuel Eto’o was earning €10 million a year at Barcelona and €5 million at Chelsea, however, those days are behind him. Instead, he opted to collect a massive payday from Anzhi Makhachkala, where, according to Goal.com, he earned nearly half of his total fortune. Of course, endorsement deals with both Puma and Ford helped as well.
Total wealth: $108 million
Kaka is another one of those footballers who gets paid handsomely both on and off the field. Not only has he made plenty of bank playing for clubs like Real Madrid, AC Milan, Sao Paulo, and Orlando City, he’s also rolling in endorsement money, courtesy of deals with companies such as Adidas, Pepsi, Samsung, Gillette, and Armani. Let’s just say Kaka has it all.
5. Wayne Rooney
Total wealth: $112 million
Wayne Rooney plays strike for both the English National Team and Manchester United, and is the wealthiest player in the English Premier League. Known for his strength on the field, Rooney has evolved into more than just goal scorer, which is why Man U rewarded him with a $104 million contract in 2014. On top of that, the deal is reportedly worth £300,000 a week.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Total wealth: $114 million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a superstar forward who recently signed a deal to play for Manchester United. And while a hefty salary from his club team factors into his net worth, much of Ibrahimovic’s money comes from endorsement deals and smart investments. According to Goal, he has sponsorship deals with Nivea, Xbox, Volvo, and Dressman, and his investments include owning a substantial amount of property. It appears that Ibrahimovic is much more than a human highlight reel.
Total wealth: $148 million
Neymar is the face of Brazilian soccer and one of the main cogs on a very talented FC Barcelona team. His skills with the ball, and flair for excellence on the pitch, have made him one of the most popular players in the sport. His annual salary, which stands at €8.8 million a year, is small potatoes compared to his overwhelming endorsement deals, that include agreements with the likes of Nike, Panasonic, Volkswagen, Red Bull, and many more. That’s not a bad haul for being only 23 years old.
2. Lionel Messi
Total wealth: $218 million
Lionel Messi is not only a magician on the soccer field, but he’s a businessman of it. His lucrative contract with Barcelona pays him $50 million a year and he has tons of endorsement deals on his plate — he works with brands such as Adidas, Samsung, Gillette, Gatorade, and Dolce & Gabbana. Messi is arguably one of the two-best soccer players in the world, and if he keeps winning Ballon d’Or awards (he’s won four times), which is given to FIFA World Player of the Year, he’ll be sure to continue to increase his overall wealth.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Total wealth: $230 million
It should come as no surprise that Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo tops this list. For anyone who follows the sport, Ronaldo is the absolute best of the best. He scores goals, dribbles with speed and force, and has sensational ball control. His deal with Real Madrid pays him a whopping €18.2 million per year, and that number doesn’t include bonuses. He also crushes it on the endorsement front, has his own clothing line (CR7), and owns a very profitable property portfolio. Plus, people seem to find him easy on the eyes, so he’s got that going for him as well. It pays to be Cristiano Ronaldo.