Who would’ve known that playing football can be the most lucrative professions out there?
In July, Forbes released its annual list of the highest-paid athletes in the world. The year 2019 marked the first time that three soccer players appeared in the top three positions.
These three has commanding plays at the field as well as the star power to boot. Here they are.
#3 – Neymar (€92.8 million)
Neymar, whose real name is Neymar da Silva Júnior, currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as a forward. He has a five-year contract with the club.
Signing in 2017, his transfer from Barcelona to PSG was one of the most expensive transfers. It was valued at €232.5 million, and the French club paid in full.
The bulk of his earnings is because of his paycheck. About €15 million of his total revenues are from his endorsements, however. Neymar has inked a deal with major global sponsors, including Nike, McDonald’s, and Red Bull. He was also the first player to have his Air Jordan sneakers customized by the Swoosh brand.
Neymar is the second most famous athlete in social media, with 124 million followers on Instagram alone. Cristiano Ronaldo has 179 million followers to date.
#2 – Cristiano Ronaldo (€96.4 million)
In 2018, Ronaldo signed a four-year deal with Juventus. The transfer fee was a staggering €112 million. He would also earn €56.5 annually for four years – his reported gross pay for the 2018-19.
Immediately after signing, Juventus made about €53 million by selling Ronaldo jerseys. The club was able to sell 520,000 jerseys within 24 hours. He also has a lifetime contract with Nike, amounting to €894 million. His other major sponsors are EA Sports, American Tourister, and Herbalife.
Ronaldo is a five-time FIFA Football Player of the Year. He also leads goalscoring in the EUFA Champions League.
#1 – Lionel Messi (€112.3 million)
Messi plays for the FC Barcelona, which he will be playing for through 2021. He signed the new contract in 2017; the contract details were not released publicly. The Spanish club is currently giving him €70 million per season, aside from the bonuses that he was promised and as stipulated in the contract.
Messi and Ronaldo are said to have the most profit-making contracts in football history. After all, they are the only two players who scored over 100 goals in UEFA club competitions.
Joseph Maria Bartomeu, President to Barcelona club, even said that Messi is priceless. Celebrity Net Worth reported his estimated worth at €277 against Forbes €112.3 million.
Going back, he took home €75 million in winnings and salary in 2018. The rest is from endorsements. Messi was the second-highest paid athlete worldwide.
The Argentinian forward had also signed a lifelong deal with Adidas. He also has sponsorships with Pepsi, Gatorade, Konami, and Huawei. Messi was also the face of Gilette, Tata Motors, and Turkish Airlines.
In 2020, Messi Experience Park will open in Nanjing, China. It’s a theme park dedicated to the soccer superstar.