Collectively, the top ten highest-paid soccer players will receive $ 585 million (before taxes) this season, up from $ 570 million last year. Salaries and bonuses are up just 2.6% from last year, with most clubs being very cautious as new covid strains keep the outlook for the season dim. In May, UEFA officials reported that European top-flight clubs were facing a whopping $ 8.5 billion in revenue due to the pandemic. This is reflected in the incomes of the leading players as well.
Cristiano Ronaldo regains his first place in the Forbes rankings, in addition to being the most popular athlete in the world, as evidenced by more than half a billion followers on social networks (Facebook 149 million, Instagram 344 million, Twitter 94.3 million. This season, the Portuguese striker should earn 125 million dollars 70 million will come from salary and bonuses for his return to Manchester United. The rest - advertising and sponsorship of brands such as Nike, Herbalife, Clear, as well as goods under his personal brand CR7, which includes perfumes, underwear, glasses, hotels, gyms and more.
Ronaldo knocked out his longtime rival, 34-year-old Lionel Messi, who moved to PSG after 21 years at Barcelona. To the salary of $ 75 million, the Argentine player will add about 35 million thanks to the collaboration with Adidas, Pepsi, Jacobs & Co. and Budweiser.
PSG now owns three of the five highest paid players in the world. Neymar is again in 3rd place with $ 95 million, and Kylian Mbappe is in 4th place with $ 43 million.
Liverpool's Mohammed Salah rounds out the top five with $ 41 million.
Andres Iniesta returned to the rankings this year. He is the only non-European team member out of a dozen. After signing a two-year contract with the Japanese club Vissel Kobe, Iniesta is in 7th place with $ 35 million.
The Forbes list is compiled from information received from club representatives, player agents, commercial sponsors and leading football experts. All figures are converted to US dollars at current exchange rates and include wages (before taxes) for the 2021-22 season, bonuses and incentives.