The world’s five highest paid football stars for 2016

Date published: Thursday 15th December 2016 1:48

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Which footballers earned the most money over 2016? We run you through the top five….

We all know the world of professional sports can be a highly lucrative one. From American football to basketball, tennis, and football, top sports stars earn mega bucks that not only come from their high salaries but also from some hefty endorsement deals.

Actually, hefty is the wrong word. What we meant was ludicrous. Football stars, in particular, enjoy some of the most obscene annual earnings, and 2016 has been a bumper year.

But not all football players are created equal, and that is evident in their bank accounts. Let’s look at the top five football players to make the list of highest earnings football stars for 2016.

 

  1. Gareth Bale

Earnings: $34million

Real Madrid coughed up a substantial amount to bring Gareth Bale over from Santiago Bernabeu, and while the star hasn’t been as proficient on the field as team managers and fans had hoped, he is still one of the top football players in the world, and that is truly reflected in his salary. In 2015, Bale walked away with a cool $24 million in salary and bonuses; while he pulled another $10 000 in sponsorship deals Adidas, BT Sports, and Sony Xperia. With earnings of up to $34 million, this Welsh superstar is definitely earning the green and sitting pretty at No. 5 on our list of highest-paid football stars.

 

  1. Neymar Jr.

Earnings: $36million

Neymar beats Bale by about $2 million, landing in the fourth spot on our list of highest-paid football stars. The thing about Neymar is his popularity, not just on the football field but on the internet as well. Thanks to social media, everyone from celebrities to sports stars and even us ordinary folk with some kind of recognisable online presence can make some dough through sponsorships and endorsements, and Neymar certainly has that down pat. In fact, so good are his endorsement deals that it has eclipsed his work on the field, receiving more sponsorship money than his salary and bonuses. But that’s expected, since Neymar boasts endorsement deals with some of the biggest brands in the world, including Panasonic, Nike, Clear, and Rexona, to name a few.

 

  1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Earnings: $37million

Ibrahimović is one of the most gifted football players in the world, with particular praise going to his goal-scoring abilities. But his skills are not just appreciated by Paris Saint-German fans. Club managers pay Ibrahimović big bucks for his talents, while endorsement deals keep rolling in. Currently, the football stars boast endorsements deals with Nike and Volvo and have earned a cool $7 million. That is in addition to his incredible $30 million pay checks from the club. The crazy thing is, in the third spot, Ibrahimović is still trailing behind the top two earners in football for 2016.

 

  1. Lionel Messi

Earnings: $77million

2015 was a busy year for Messi, what with scoring 48 goals, securing five trophies and setting records by collecting his fifth Ballon d’Or trophy for the best football player on the planet. But his work was hardly in vain, has he was handsomely rewarded for his effort with $26 million in endorsements deals from Adidas, Gatorade, Lays and EA Sports as well as an astounding $51 million in salary and bonuses.

 

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Earnings: $82million

 

Who else would fill the top position besides Ronaldo? The Real Madrid superstar is not so much a football player as he is a global brand. Everyone wants a piece of Ronaldo, but it comes at a hefty price. Nike, Herbalife, Tag Heuer and Clear have all coughed up big bucks to have Ronaldo representing their brands, with the football star scoring a cool $29 million for his off-field efforts. And when he played the beautiful game, he netted a jaw-dropping $53 million.

 

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