Have you ever wondered why footballers are paid so much? The reason boils down to the concept of demand and supply. Football is the most-watched sport, with a fan base of 2.5 billion, according to Pledge Sports. This means that football players benefit significantly from ticket sales due to high attendance. Apart from ticket sales, football players also earn a lot depending on the club they play for. If some are lucky, they can also be paid by endorsements. Now that we know why they got so rich, we need to identify the footballers who were lucky enough to get rich. Here is a list of the 20 richest football players in 2022 and their net worth below.
20. Luis Suarez ($70 million)
Luis is an Uruguayan player known for his aggressiveness on the pitch. He plays for the Uruguayan national team and FC Barcelona. His first international debut came in the 2007 U-20 World Cup. He played so impressively in the World Cup that Groningen and Ajax wanted to sign him up. Eventually, he signed a five-year deal and a €7.5m contract with Ajax. Later, he joined Liverpool FC, where he would eventually win the Golden Boot award. Eventually, he joined FC Barcelona in 2014.
19. Givanildo Vieira de Sousa ($70 million)
Givanildo is known as “The Hulk”. He plays for Atlético Mineiro and the Brazil national team as a striker. He first played for Vitória and then went to play in Japan for three years. After that, he joined Porto and helped the club win ten titles between 2010 and 2011. In 2012, he joined FC Zenit in a $63 million deal. Later in 2016, he signed a $61 million contract with Shanghai Port FC.
18. Franck Ribery ($70 million)
Franck plays for Salernitana as a left winger. He is praised for his precise passing, energy and skill. He made his debut at Conti Boulogne in 1989 as a young player. Seven years later, he joined Lille. However, his big break would come in 2007 when he joined Bayern Munich for a record fee of $25 million. Under Bayern, he won one FIFA World Cup match, nine Bundesliga titles and one UEFA league title.
17. David De Gea ($75 million)
David is a Spanish player who serves as a goalkeeper for Manchester United and the Spain national team. With a salary of 24 million dollars, he became the highest paid goalkeeper in the world. He first joined Atlético Madrid in 2009 as a goalkeeper. He was able to help the club win the UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Europa League in 2010. His wins attracted Manchester United, who signed him for $23 million.
16. Sergio Ramos ($80 million)
Sergio is a Spanish Camas player. He is often considered one of the best centre-backs. In his first season, he played 41 games and scored his first UEFA Cup goal. Later, he played in three European Cups and three World Cups in 2006, 2010 and 2014. Real Madrid were impressed with his gameplay and bought him for 27 million euros. Currently, he is the captain of the club.
15. Mario Balotelli ($80 million)
Mario is an Italian player who plays for Adana Demirspor and the Italian national team as a striker. He started playing professionally at 15 for Lumezzane. Barcelona were impressed and even wanted to sign him. However, he signed with Inter Milan in 2006. The following year he made his Serie A debut. After scoring many goals in the game, he started to get a lot of attention from the Italian press . In 2010, he joined Manchester and Inter Milan in 2013.
14. Robert Lewandowski ($85 million)
He is a Polish football player known for being a striker for Bayern Munich and the Polish national team. With his salary of $30 million in 2020, he has become one of the highest paid footballers. He started playing as an unregistered player for a local club called Partyzant Leszno. Later, he joined MKS Varsovia Warsaw as a teenager and stayed with the club for 7 years. His first big break was in 2008, when he came on as a substitute in the UEFA Cup.
13. Mohamed Salah ($90 million)
Mohamed is an Egyptian player who plays for Liverpool FC and the Egyptian national team. He is known for his speed, dribbling and finishing. In 2012, he signed a four-year contract with Basel. He was able to propel his team into the semi-finals. Although they lost, reaching the semi-finals is still considered a feat. His major break came in 2017 when he signed a long-term contract with Liverpool for $62 million. After joining the club, he became its top scorer.
12. Kylian Mbappe ($95 million)
One of his significant achievements is being one of the youngest French players to score a World Cup goal (2018). Moreover, he also made history by earning so much money as a teenager. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he earned nearly $25 million at age 19. Today, he earns a base salary of $28 million and $14 million in endorsements.
11. Eden Hazard ($100 million)
Eden is a Belgian player who plays for Chelsea FC and the Belgium national team. He is widely known for his defensive style of play. Most of his coaches and colleagues think he is as good as Messi and Cristiano. He made his professional debut in 2007. Around the 2008-2009 season, he became senior coach of Lille. In 2014, he signed a contract with Lille to be with them for life. However, the following year he signed a five-year contract with Chelsea. During his time at Chelsea, he won the ‘PFA Player of the Year’ award and Chelsea’s ‘Player of the Year’ award.
10. Andres Iniesta ($120 million)
He is a Spanish player who is captain and midfielder of Vissel Kobe. Prior to joining Vissel Kobe, he had spent most of his career at Barcelona, as captain for three seasons. He first joined Barcelona in 2001. In 2004 people noticed his improvement and he received many honours. For example, he was named the best player in the 2011-12 UEFA Champions League. Besides, he was awarded the Marca Legend Award in 2011. Andres had been playing for Barcelona for 22 years before joining Vissel Kobe in 2018. He signed a three-year deal with them for $30m a year.
9. Mesut Ozil ($120 million)
Mesut is a German player and the captain of a Turkish club called Fenerbahçe. He plays as an attacking midfielder and he is known for his passing skills, creativity and technical skills. In 2010, he joined Real Madrid for the first time. Since joining the club, he hasn’t stopped winning. As further proof of his quality, he helped Germany win the World Cup in 2014. Apart from Real Madrid, he also played for Arsenal, where he earned a lot of money.
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8. Paul Pogba ($125 million)
Paul has won four major titles: the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, the “Serie A” awards, the “UEFA Team of the Year” and the Supercoppa Italiana. Currently, he plays for Manchester United and the French national team. He discovered his football prowess at just 6 years old. He would later join club ‘US Torcy’ for the ‘Under-13’ team before officially joining Manchester United in 2009. After that, he left Manchester United to play for Juventus. However, he signed a contract worth $111 million with Manchester United in 2016.
7. Gareth Bale ($145 million)
He is a Welsh player who plays for Real Madrid as a winger. People have described him as a player with exceptional speed and a great crossing ability. After finishing high school, he joined Southampton FC in 2006. In the same year, he won the BBC Wales Young Sports Personality Of the Year. Many clubs wanted him but he settled with Real Madrid in 2013. As of today, he is still with the club.
6. Alexandre Pato ($145 million)
Pato is a Brazilian player who plays as a striker for Orlando City. He made his Internacional debut in 2006, when he was 16 years old. Despite older and more experienced football players, he became the top scorer and even beat Gremio 4-0. Due to his win, he was included in the Internacional squad. The team would then win the 2006 FIFA World Cup. After the World Cup, he joined AC Milan. He scored 18 goals in 42 games and received the Golden Boy Award. In 2016, he played for Chelsea on loan. After that he played for many other clubs but finally moved to Orlando City in 2021.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($190 million)
Zlatan is a Swedish player who plays as a striker for LA Galaxy. He is known for his precise striking ability, making him a prolific goalscorer. According to Sports Adda, he is the third most decorated player in the world. He started his major league career in 2002 when he joined Ajax. He scored five goals for the club, earning him the ‘Goal of the Tournament’ award in 2004. After that, Zlatan changed clubs but moved to Manchester United in 2016.
4. Neymar Jr. ($200 million)
Neymar started playing football on the streets of Brazil before taking a break from playing professional football in 2009. In 2009 he joined Santos FC and quickly became a valuable goalscorer. As a result, he was highly sought after by many clubs. Neymar stayed at Santos because the salary was high compared to what other clubs wanted to offer him. Finally, he joined Barcelona in 2013 and scored 39 goals, much to everyone’s amazement.
3. Lionel Messi ($400 million)
Messi is often revered for his ability to dribble the ball past his opponents and his goalscoring records. Like Cristiano, he started playing professionally at 16 when he joined FC Barcelona. Later, he would lead Barcelona to win the Champions League, Spanish Super Cup and La Liga titles. Consequently, he became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer.
He is often considered the greatest player of all time, although Messi fans may disagree. Currently, he plays for Juventus and the Portugal national team. His professional career took off when he was just 16 years old. At the time, he was signed for $12 million to play for Manchester United. He played as a midfielder and his skills grew playing for other teams like Real Madrid. He scored so many goals at Real Madrid that many clubs wanted…