Top 10 Richest Footballers in the World

Top 10 Richest Footballers in the World
Written by Omolola Akinyemi

Your favorite football athletes and teams in Europe are being paid millions of Dollars and Pounds Sterling to engage or retain them. In actual fact, it means the richest footballers in the world are amongst THE RICHEST PEOPLE worldwide – point blank. We are not exaggerating or making it up. And why not? The world’s most addictive game with uncountable billions of fans, namely football, is truly attracting money from near and far. From sponsorship deals with big companies; to social media earnings due to huge followership; and even staff payments and bonuses from their managers.

Even when the player is injured, he (or she) is still entitled to a salary. That is the general package for any footballer of worthy mention worldwide. However, Europe (and lately Asia) have become the promised lands for many decades now. If you are a hardworking soccer athlete, you are bound to get rich while working for teams in any of these two continents. It is a predictable certainty of less than 5 years without exaggeration.

But you need to know. That soccer leagues and teams in Europe are popular and heavily sponsored. But the highest-paid football stars across the globe are not all based in Europe. The phenomenal deal between Christiano Ronaldo and the Saudi Arabian football club Al-Nassr in December 2022 attests to this claim. Soccer clubs in Asia and Europe are viciously competing to stand tall with regard to how they compensate talented footballers. So where are the A-list earners of the football world domiciled this 2024? Let’s explore the world of soccer together in this current year. Let us assess which players truly deserve an award for the top ten richest footballers ever!

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Kylian Mbappe Lottin: Between $120 million and $180 million

Kylian Mbappe

Born in 1998 to a Camerounian father (also his agent) in Paris, Mbappe is a highly-skilled professional football forward. He currently playing for the French national team, and Paris Saint Germain (PSG). He has played for at least four soccer clubs (including PSG). Above all, he is the second highest goal scorer of all time for the same PSG. Mbappe has won so many FIFA, UEFA, Ligue 1, and other international awards between 2004 and 2024, even as a teenager. He has active sponsorship contracts with sportswear giant Nike and Swiss watchmaker Hublot.

Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima: $165 million 

Ronaldo de Lima R9

Ronaldo dé Lima (nicknamed R9) was born in 1976. He is a Brazilian world-class football striker who retired in 2011 after playing for a total of eight European football teams. He also joined the Brazilian national team to feature in eight international games between 1994 and 1996. They include FIFA World Cup, FIFA Confederation Cup, Copa America, and Olympic games; and the Brazilian team won five of them. He won two Ballon d’Or awards and three FIFA Player of The Year awards. He appeared in various commercials, television shows, and landed a meaningful sponsorship deal with famous sportswear company Nike. Today he is a business owner, and owner of two football clubs: Cruzeiro (Brasileiro Serie A) and Villa Valladolid (La Liga).

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: $190 million

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The Swedish striker Ibrahimovic was born in 1981 to a Bosnian father and Croat mother in Sweden. His rough, hunger-ridden years as a child on the streets eventually became the driving force behind his success. He plays for AC Milan football club and the Swedish national team as we speak. His powerful moves on the pitch have reportedly earned him 570 goals in his career history, that had him play for 11 soccer clubs since 1999. The name ‘Zlatan‘ is now a trademark in Sweden, for which he is paid royalties on goods bearing his name. He has an endorsement deal with Nike, and features also in documentaries and other famous adverts.

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior: $200 million


Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1992 to a former footballer, Neymar is an expert football forward. He currently plays for Al Hilal SFC and the Brazilian national team. He has scored over 100 goals, won so many sports awards, and played for four football clubs so far. Neymar’s brilliant career has landed him various sponsorship deals past and present with companies like Nike, Santander, Puma, Unilever, Volkswagen, and Ambev (to mention a few). He is also an ardent promoter of Brazilian music, and has appeared in some movies.

Dave Whelan: $220 million

Dave Whelan

Born in England in 1936, Dave Whelan was a former full back. He played for Blackburn Rovers and Crewe Alexandra football clubs respectively between 1956 and 1966. He has either bought or been a majority shareholder in a number of soccer and rugby clubs. In each case, they were either eventually sold off or he resigned. He acquired Wigan Athletic club in 1995. Then he took the club gradually to the top of the FA Premier League in eight years, and witnessed their relegation in 2013. Whelan stepped down in 2015 to allow his grandson, David Sharpe take over as chairman of Wigan Athletic F.C. He currently owns UK’s second largest sports clothing retail company, JJB Sports.

Lionel Andres Messi: $650 million

Lionel Messi

Argentina-born Lionel Messi, an exceptional football forward who plays for the Argentine national team and Inter Miami CF, was born in 1987. Messi’s football skills have earned him six European Golden Shoes, seven Ballon d’Or awards, so many FIFA, Copa America and La Liga awards in his career. He has had endorsement deals past and present with Adidas, Nike, Pepsi, Dolce & Gabbana, Konami, Gillette, Tata Motors, and other world-renown brands.

David Robert Joseph Beckham: $550 million

David Beckham

David Beckham, an Englishman born in London in the year 1975, retired in 2013 as a celebrated midfielder of global repute. Thus ending 25 years of active football career that spanned nine football clubs in four countries (Spain, England, France and USA). He is currently the co-owner of two football clubs – Salford City and Inter Miami CF. He is also currently the UK ambassador for UNICEF since 2005. Additionally, he owns an international real estate business, and is a top-notch fashion model.

David inherited his love for football from both his parents, who are die-hard fans of Manchester United. He never dreamt of being anything else but a footballer even from a tender age. Slong with his equally famous wife Victoria, David Beckham became highly sought-after by top brands in the fashion, health and fitness industries. He also signed lucrative endorsement deals with PepsiCo, Maserati, Adidas, and Walt Disney Company, amongst others. He is also a businessman with investments in notable companies such as Lunaz, EA Sports and Guild Sports.

Christiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro: $690 million

Christiano Ronaldo

Christiano Ronaldo, born in 1985 into a humble home in Madeira Portugal, is currently the captain of the Portugal national team. And he signed up as a football forward with the Saudi Arabian football club Al-Nassr in 2022 In all, he has played for seven football clubs since 1992. He has also earned four European Golden Shoe awards, five Ballon d’Or awards, and several other awards. These are in recognition of his extraordinary and passionate performances on the football pitch. The world-famous Cristiano Ronaldo has signed so many lucrative endorsement deals with A-list global brands including Nike, Abott, Unilever, Herbalife, Egyptian Steel, Armani, and New York fashion designer Richard Chai.

Mathieu Pierre Flamini: $30 billion

Mathieu Flamini

Mathieu Flamini, born in Marseille, France in the year 1984, retired as a professional midfielder from the Spanish club Getafe in 2019. That followed a 27-year impressive career journey that had him play for five football clubs across four countries. Namely England, France, Spain and Italy, and the French national team. Today, he is a businessman and co-owner of GF Biochemicals, the largest producer of levulinic acid worldwide (with offices in the Netherlands and Italy). Levulinic acid is an eco-friendly substitute for petrol.

Faiq Jefri Bolkiah: $20 billion

Faiq Bolkiah may not be famous or notably skillful on the pitch, but he is undoubtedly rich. This is largely due to his being a member of the Brunei royal family. He was born in Los Angeles, United States in 1998 and the son of a brother of the Sultan of Brunei (Hassanal Bolkiah). Faiq Bolkiah plays as a midfielder both for the Brunei national team, and the Thai football club Ratchaburi FC. His education in Great Britain was a prelude that led to his football career of about twelve years in the UK alone

He has played for six football clubs in three countries (England, Portugal and Thailand) since his career began in 2008. Brunei is a big-time exporter of oil and gas in South-East Asia, and one of the richest countries in the world. Surely any member of the tiny country’s royal family would definitely have a share in the petrodollars earned every year. One would probably say Faiq Bolkiah played soccer more for the passion than for any significant earnings. Which by the way, would not compare to his family wealth in the least.




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About the author

Omolola Akinyemi

A Computer Science graduate of UNILAG, I hail from Ekiti state of Nigeria. An astute teacher, learner & admin assistant of many years experience. I love technology, innovation, and Nature. A problem solving mentality is important to me. The future is only seconds away, and I believe I can define the future now. You can also.