Gallery: world’s highest-paid football players in 2021
There’s a familiar face at No.1, but who else is on the football rich list?
Paris Saint-Germain forwards Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe - or “MNM” as they are now known - make up one of football’s finest front threes, said Goal. However, it’s not just on the pitch, with goals and assists, where they are expected to cash in.
Lionel Messi: £960,000 per week
In May, when he was still with Barcelona, Messi was named second on Forbes’s list of the world’s highest-paid athletes in 2021 with annual earnings of $130m (£94.7m). His move to the French capital on a two-year contract has seen the Argentinian superstar land an “inevitably massive pay day”, Radio Times said. His deal is worth £25m per year as a base salary after tax - which works out at approximately £50m per year before tax.
Neymar: £606,000 per week
PSG star Neymar, who is once again Messi’s team-mate after their stint at Barcelona, ranks third on the list of football’s highest-paid players. In August 2017 PSG paid Barca a world-record transfer fee of £200m to bring the Brazilian to France and he earns more than £30m per year before bonuses.
Luis Suarez: £575,000 per week
Luis Suarez, another ex-Barcelona striker, made the move across Spain to join Atletico Madrid on a two-year contract in September 2020. With 21 goals in 32 La Liga games, the 34-year-old “has been worth every penny of his wage” as he fired his club to the title, Radio Times said.
Gareth Bale: £500,000 per week
Welsh forward Gareth Bale spent last season on loan at Tottenham Hotspur but he has now returned to Real Madrid and is back in the first-team squad. Bale has one year left on his contract at the Bernabeu, where he earns a cool half-a-mill a week.
Kylian Mbappe: £410,000 per week
French striker Kylian Mbappe currently earns a £410,000 weekly wage at PSG and is No.7 on the rich list. However, the 22-year-old could soon be set for a huge pay day. Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Mbappe has refused to accept multiple offers to renew his PSG contract. He is linked with Real Madrid while an unnamed Premier League club has reportedly made a bid.
Cristiano Ronaldo: £385,000 per week
After leaving Juventus for Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to take a £6m-a-year pay cut in order to secure his dream return to Old Trafford, the Daily Mail reported. The 36-year-old was earning £500,000 a week in Italy, but his agent Jorge Mendes set the superstar’s wage demands at £20m a year, equating to £385,000 a week. Even with the pay cut Ronaldo becomes United’s highest-paid player ahead of David De Gea.
Kevin De Bruyne: £385,000 per week
In May Man City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne signed a new four-year contract that will keep him at the Premier League champions until 2025. The Times reports that the Belgian international negotiated the new deal himself – and this makes him the best-paid player in the English top-flight.
David De Gea: £375,000 per week
Manchester United No.1 David De Gea is the only goalkeeper in the top ten and was the highest-paid player in the Premier League. However, Kevin De Bruyne’s new contract at Man City “eclipses” the £375,000-a-week deal that De Gea signed at Old Trafford in 2019, The Times said.
Robert Lewandowski: £350,000 per week
Taking the final spot in the top ten is Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski. The Poland captain has a contract until 2023 which is worth £350,000 per week. According to Sky Sports News Lewandowski wants a “new challenge” away from the German club, who have valued him at more than £100m. The broadcaster has been told that Lewandowski, 33, is happy at Bayern but wants to secure a move to another top European club before the age of 35.