Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, with a recent study suggesting that more than 4 out of 10 people globally would consider themselves soccer fans in 2017, with this number expected to continue to rise. As a result of this popularity, the best players in the world can earn vast amounts of money.
As of February 2019, Lionel Messi is the highest paid soccer player in the world; earning a staggering $12,636.61 per hour. To put this into some kind of context, it would take Lionel Messi around 1 day and a few hours, to buy 2 private islands. Lionel Messi has been considered to be one of the best soccer players for a long time, so it makes sense that he is the highest earner. According to research from Findbettingsites.co.uk, in 2018 Lionel Messi earned around $111million when taking into account his salary, bonuses as well as his major sponsorships, such as Adidas, Gatorade, and Mastercard.
The second highest paid soccer player is Cristiano Ronaldo. After his 9 years spent playing for Real Madrid, last summer Cristiano Ronaldo left the Bernabeu, to pursue a new career with Juventus. Cristiano Ronaldo, who turned 34 on February 5th 2019, is earning a reported $12,295.08 per hour. Again, an astronomical figure, which displays the dominance that soccer has in the sporting world.
The third highest paid soccer player is Antoine Griezzman. Having recently won the world cup with his national team, France, in 2018, Griezzman was offered a new contract by Athletico Madrid, which made him the third highest paid soccer player in the world, leap-frogging Neymar Jr. This contract came after interest from some of the best teams in Europe, such as Barcelona, and PSG, which allowed Antoine Griezzman a certain level of bargaining power, in turn justifying the inflated salary.
Neymar Jr. is the fourth highest paid player in the world, despite being the player with the highest price tag. PSG purchased Neymar Jr. from Barcelona for an astounding $262million back in 2017, which is the highest fee that has ever been paid for a professional soccer player. Orignally from Brazil, Neymar Jr. is widely considered to be one of the best soccer players in the world, and it is unsurprising that he is the fourth highest earner.
As of February 2019, Luis Suarez, a striker playing for F.C. Barcelona is the fifth highest paid player in the world. The Uruguayan striker was purchased by Barcelona from Liverpool in 2014, for a fee of around $128 million. Luis Suarez has won several trophies with Barcelona, which helps to justify his hefty wage bill.
As you can see the majority of the top earners play, or used to play in Spain. Is this a trend that is set to continue, with Spanish football seemingly on the decline, and French football appearing to be on the rise? Time will tell.