FOOTBALL is the most popular sport in world. It’s estimated to reach more than 3.5 billion fans. With great popularity comes great salary. The numbers have hit surreal heights and the trend does not seem to be slowing down.
Let’s talk about the players who take the sweetest piece of pie. Here is the list of the highest-paid football players on the planet in 2022.
Top Highest paid footballers 2022
1. KYLIAN MBAPPE (PSG) – $62 MILLION/YEAR
We’ll see French giants a few times on this list. Three of the five highest-paid football stars earn their living in one club, PSG.
Interestingly, it is still not enough for the Parisians to win UEFA Champions League. Nevertheless, Kylian Mbappe has become the highest paid footballer in the world by signing a massive new contract with PSG.
Despite frequently stating his desire to play for Real Madrid, Mbappe opted against joining the Spanish giants and instead committed his future to Paris in a deal that apparently gives him control over coaching appointments and player recruitment.
Hopefully that will help ease the sting of the inevitable bottling in the Champo knockouts next season.
2. LIONEL MESSI (PSG) – $41 MILLION/YEAR
Second spot is reserved for arguably the best player in the history of the game.
Even at the age of 34, Lionel Messi is still considered the GOAT by many. The Argentinean superstar became a free agent after making the surprising decision to leave Barcelona in the summer of 2021.
Messi joined PSG not long after leaving Camp Nou. The French heavyweights offered Leo a whopping $41 million net annual salary.
3. NEYMAR JR (PSG) – $36.5 MILLION/YEAR
Next up is Messi’s teammate Neymar who has signed a contract extension with PSG in the summer of 2021.
The Brazilian star will be loyal to the Parisian outfit until the summer of 2025. He will receive $36.5 million a year.
Neymar has constantly been among the top five or top ten players in the world in the last decade.
He has won everything in France but would certainly trade numerous domestic titles for the much-wanted UEFA Champions League silverware.
Speaking of which, PSG have included a hefty bonus tag into Neymar’s contract if the team go on and win the elite continental competition.
4. CRISTIANO RONALDO (MANCHESTER UNITED) – $36 MILLION/YEAR
Cristiano Ronaldo became the highest-paid player in the history of the English Premier League when he signed a two-year deal with his old club Manchester United in the summer of 2021.
Ronaldo thus returned to Old Trafford after spending more than a decade in Real Madrid and Juventus.
Although things do not look great for the Red Devils at the moment, Cristiano Ronaldo should by no means worry about his finances.
He is the fourth-highest-paid player on the globe even at the age of 37. Much like his eternal rival Lionel Messi, Ronaldo signed a two-year deal with an option of extension to an additional year.
5. ANDRES INIESTA (VISSEL KOBE) – $31 MILLION / YEAR.
Admit it: you thought Iniesta had retired. No – while his great teammate Xavi is currently managing Barcelona, the man who scored the winner in the 2010 World Cup final is currently dazzling defences in Japan.
Since joining Vissell Kobe in 2018, Iniesta has won the Emperor’s Cup and the Japanese Super Cup with his new club. He’s 37 years old and might yet play until 40.
6. KEVIN DE BRUYNE (MANCHESTER CITY) – $28 MILLION/YEAR
We move across to the blue part of Manchester as Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne holds sixth place in our list.
The Belgian midfielder has put his signing on a renewed contract in the summer of 2021. He has put pen to paper to extend loyalty to Manchester City until 2025.
This luxury will cost the Citizens $28 million a year.
7. PAUL POGBA (MANCHESTER UNITED) – $27 MILLION/YEAR
Another Manchester United player makes the list, despite the club not having won a trophy for five years and the Premier League for a full decade.
Pogba claimed football’s ultimate prize with France at World Cup 2018 but second stint at Manchester United only yielded silverware in his first season – and player and club probably hoped for more than the Europa League. Looks certain to leave for free in the summer.
8. ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (BAYERN MUNICH) – $27 MILLION/YEAR
As the star player for Bayern Munich, known as FC Hollywood in Germany, it’s hardly surprising that Robert Lewandowski is picking up a hefty salary.
However, unlike certain players above him on this list, the Polish striker is worth every penny of his wage, racking up an astonishing number of goals since joining from domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund.
Lewandowski will turn 34 at the start of next season but shows no sign of slowing down.
9. GARETH BALE (REAL MADRID) – $26 MILLION / YEAR
How to judge the Real Madrid career of Gareth Bale?
He’s won four Champions League and scored in two finals – including a contender for the best goal ever to grace the showpiece event, against Liverpool.
Yet the Welshman is now barely in the team and spends more time on the golf course than the pitch, his relations with the club, press and fans at an all time low. Hey ho, the pay cheque probably helps.
10. EDEN HAZARD – (REAL MADRID) – $26 MILLION / YEAR
Real Madrid rival only Manchester United in terms of paying footballers vast wages and then failing to get the best out of them.
Whereas Bale has a significant trophy call, Hazard has spent the majority of his time at Real Madrid in the treatment room since joining from Chelsea back in 2019.