Soccer is one of the most popular sports of all time. These players have been in the game for a while - and it's certainly paid off. We're counting down the athletes raking in the most, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
30. Robert Lewandowski: $85 Million
Robert Lewandowski is perhaps one of the greatest strikers ever seen in soccer history. The Polish player has scored over 500 goals during his career. Even at 34 years old, he remains a force to be reckoned with.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, the Polish player is worth around $85 million. It makes sense since they reported that his salary starts at $24 million. Lewandowski spent eight seasons playing for the German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and was transferred to Barcelona in July 2022 with a fee of $512 million for four years.
29. Steven Gerrard: $90 Million
This former baller was born to play soccer. Gerrard was noticed by Liverpool scouts when he was only 9 years old and stayed there for most of his career. The Englishman scored 120 goals over 504 appearances at Liverpool and won the Champions League, among other awards, with the team.
He was captain of both Liverpool and England's national team. It only makes sense that such an astounding player would be worth so much. After his career as a player was over, he coached for various teams, including, most recently, Aston Villa. Adidas, Jaguar, and Xbox One have also sponsored Gerrard. No big deal.
28. Ronaldinho: $90 Million
The retired Brazilian player is worth a whole lot of dough, according to Celebrity Net Worth. When he was only 18, he scored 22 goals in 47 matches, cementing himself as one of the greatest players of all time. Ronaldinho scored over 200 goals during his career.
Now it is time for the former midfielder to kick back in one of his many properties. Ronaldinho owns homes around the world, from Greece to Brazil. He also has an extensive car collection, which includes a Lamborghini Aventador and a Ferrari 458. He is living the retiree dream.
27. Mohamed Salah: $90 Million
They call him The Pharoah, a fitting nickname for Mohamed Salah, who has a reported salary of $35 million and a net worth of $90 million. Also dubbed The Egyptian King, he started his career in Egypt before quickly being noticed by European teams. Then, he began to dominate.
Salah has helped his team, Liverpool, win the Premier League and UEFA Champions League titles. His current salary is 350,000 pounds (almost $430,000) a week, which makes him the highest-paid player in Liverpool's history. Factor in his bonuses and endorsements, and Salah is one of the most well-paid athletes in the world currently.
26. Kaká: $90 Million
Ricardo Kaká's time as a soccer player was defined by his quick feet and wit. He collectively played for AC Milan in Italy for seven years and helped the team win the UEFA Champions League in 2006-07. The Brazilian native had endorsement deals with Adidas, Hyundai, and WiseUp.
Not only was he playing soccer, but Kaká also had a modeling contract with Armani. At his peak, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately, injuries caused the Brazilian to retire at 34. Now he has more time to enjoy his millions.
25. Frank Lampard: $90 Million
At one point in Lampard's career, he was the highest-paid soccer player in Britain. He signed a contract with Chelsea that was worth 39.2 million (about $48 million) pounds. The former midfielder is regarded as one of the best players to have ever played for Chelsea. Lampard is just following his legacy.
Lampard's father used to play and was an assistant manager for West Ham United. He is also related to former soccer players Harry and Jamie Redknapp. Lampard isn't just relaxing on a beach with his cash, though. He's currently the manager of Everton. Now, this is a sports family. Where is their Netflix series?
24. Fernando Torres: $90 Million
While his nickname was El Niño, which means the kid, Fernando Torres was far from being just a kid. He scored 200 goals over his almost 20-year-long career. With endorsement deals from Nike to Pepsi, Torres is one of the richest soccer players ever.
Torres crushed the game when he was still playing. He scored over 20 goals in one season with Liverpool and was widely regarded as the best striker during the height of his career. He also was the most expensive Spanish player in history, with a transfer fee of 50 million pounds (about $61 million) from Liverpool to Chelsea. Cha-ching!
23. Didier Drogba: $90 Million
Drogba is regarded as one of the best African soccer players ever to play. The Ivorian was a striker whose career was defined by his years at Chelsea. He appeared in ads for Samsung, Nike, and Pepsi over the years, leaving him with a lot of cash flow.
He also made history as the first player-owner in a soccer team when he signed on to join the Phoenix Rising in Major League Soccer in the United States. Drogba has since retired but is still enjoying the accolades and the checks he earned while being the best of the best in soccer.
22. Bastian Schweinsteiger: $90 Million
Schweinsteiger followed in his brother's footsteps and started playing soccer at six. The rest is history. During his storied career, Schweinsteiger won eight Bundesliga titles, seven DFB cups, the Champions League, a FIFA Club World Cup, and the crown jewel, the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The German native spent most of his career playing for Bayern Munich before playing his last years at Manchester United and Chicago Fire. Since his retirement, he has been working as an analyst with German broadcaster ARD and probably enjoying all those dolla dolla bills.
21. Samuel Eto'o: $95 Million
A technical and powerful player, Samuel Eto'o was one of the highest-paid players during his career. The Cameroonian native set a record in 2011 for his transfer from Inter Milan to the Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala. The fee was more than $35 million, with an annual salary of $29 million. That is one big payday.
He helped Cameroon win the Gold Medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and holds the record for being his country's all-time leading scorer. It's not surprising that Celebrity Net Worth ranks his net worth at $95 million. Eto'o has proven his worth.
20. Raúl González Blanco: $100 Million
The retired Spanish soccer player is one of the heavyweights of soccer. He played for Real Madrid for an incredible 16 years, setting the record for most appearances in the club's history with 741. Raúl is one of the club's all-time top goalscorers with 323 goals. The captain was a fan favorite.
Although the Spaniard is worth a reported $100 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, and has been featured in Adidas and Pepsi commercials, he isn't flashy with his money or ego. After he retired from playing soccer, he joined the managerial staff of Real Madrid. Talk about true dedication to the sport.
19. Philipp Lahm: $100 Million
Philipp Lahm is a German legend. The Munich-born soccer player spent most of his career playing for Bayern Munich, starting in their youth program when he was only 11. Lahm went on to be the captain of both Bayern Munich and the German national team. No wonder he is making the big bucks.
Lahm was part of the 2014 German team that ended up winning the World Cup. Only a few days after winning, Lahm announced his retirement from international football and retired as one of the greatest full-backs to ever grace the game. This German legend has earned every cent of his estimated $100 million net worth.
18. Pelé: $100 Million
He was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but the entire world knows him as Pelé. And he is considered one of the best to exist. FIFA named him Player of the Century, and he was included in the 100 most important people of the 20th Century list by Time Magazine. He is a Brazilian national hero.
He is the only player to win three FIFA World Cups. He was rightfully named O Rei, which translates to The King. He has come a long way, from learning how to play soccer with a grapefruit to having a net worth of $100 million. Pelé even caused a momentary truce in the Nigerian Civil War, so they could watch him play.
17. Eden Hazard: $100 Million
Watch out for this Hazard! The Belgian soccer player is considered one of his generation's best. He spent eight years of his career at Chelsea, helping them win the League Cup and the Premier League. He was transferred to Real Madrid in 2019 with a transfer fee of 150 million Euros (about $158 million) - one of the highest ever.
Hazard has done sponsorship deals with Nike and Lotus Bakeries. He took over as the face of the FIFA video game in 2019 from Cristiano Ronaldo. Hazard is also a part-owner of the San Diego 1904 FC. While he recently announced his retirement from the national Belgium team, this player is still bringing in the big bucks.
16. Zinedine Zidane: $120 Million
Dribbling past the $100 million dollar mark is retired French soccer player Zinedine Zidane. Zidane, who goes by the nickname Zizou, was an attacking midfielder who defined the game on and off the field. As a player, he was renowned for his technique and vision. He has endorsements with companies from Audi to Lego to Adidas.
Between his endorsements and his high salary of $14 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, it is no wonder he is one of the wealthiest soccer players ever. He has continued to define the sport as the coach of Real Madrid. This Frenchman is unstoppable!
15. Mesut Özil: $120 Million
The German native was a talented midfielder who caught the eye of many clubs after the 2010 World Cup. Özil spent three years at Real Madrid before a record-breaking transfer worth 42.5 million pounds (about $52 million) sent him to Arsenal, where he would spend the majority of his career and help end a nine-year trophy drought.
He doesn't stop playing, even when he's off the field. Özil has built quite a portfolio with a streetwear brand, an esports team, a chain of coffee shops, and ownership shares in the Mexican football club Necaxa. Hopefully, his ventures off the field will be as successful as his time on it.
14. José Mourinho: $120 Million
During Mourinho's time as a player, he enjoyed relative success in the Portuguese leagues. However, it was when he transitioned into coaching that things really began to take off for Mourinho and where he earned his status as one of the richest soccer players.
He's landed himself the nickname The Special One because of his genius and skills as a coach. He has won 26 trophies as a manager for various teams, including the Champions League and Europa League. He currently is the coach for AS Roma and has a few endorsement deals with brands like American Express and Samsung.
13. Andrés Iniesta: $120 Million
Iniesta came from a small village in Spain where there wasn't even a football club. Now he is one of the richest players of all time! He played for Barcelona for a remarkable 22 years, including on their youth teams. During his time, he played 669 games and nabbed 57 goals.
Iniesta was a key part of the Spanish team that won the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where he scored the winning goal against the Netherlands to secure the title. In 2018, he signed on with the Japanese League team Vissel Kobe and reportedly earned $30 million annually on his three-year deal, according to Planet Football. Wowza!
12. Paul Pogba: $125 Million
Pogba's career has been a bit of a ping-pong game. The prominent French player began his professional career playing for Manchester United, transferred to Juventus, then back to Manchester, and is currently playing for Juventus. According to Celebrity Net Worth, his salary is $33 million.
There are lots of reasons why. One of them may be the fact that Pogba was a top performer in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups. He was named the Best Young Player for the 2014 tournament and, in 2018, scored one of three goals that led France to win over Croatia in the final.
11. Thierry Henry: $130 Million
Thierry Henry has too many titles to his name. The legendary French soccer player has done it all. He has won the Premier League Golden Boot four times, a record, and was named the French Player of the Year five times - which is also a record. Even in retirement, he has been keeping busy as a coach.
Henry spent much of his career at Arsenal, becoming a legend there. Over the years, he has appeared in numerous ads and commercials, from Nike to Gillette to Pepsi. Henry also made multiple cameo appearances in the Apple TV+ comedy Ted Lasso. Safe to say that he is at the top of his game.
10. Gareth Bale: $145 Million
Gareth Bale was born to set records. When he was 16, he became the youngest player at that time to represent Wales on the international stage. Since then, he helped Wales qualify for a FIFA World Cup for the first time in 64 years, and he has been named Welsh Footballer of the Year six times. Guess what? That is also a record.
During his time at Tottenham Hotspurs, Bale flourished. After a few years, he was transferred to Real Madrid for a record transfer fee of 85.1 million pounds (about $104 million). He's been enjoying his money. In his backyard, he created a replica of the 17th hole at TPC at Sawgrass. Talk about a hole-in-one!
9. Kylian Mbappé: $150 Million
At only 18 years old, Mbappé was signed by Paris Saint-Germain on a transfer deal worth 180 million euros (about $189 million). Only a year later, the Frenchman became the youngest player to ever score at the World Cup. So, his stance as one of the highest-earning players in the league, according to Forbes, completely tracks.
Not only does he have a huge salary, but Mbappé also has some big endorsement deals. He's signed with sportswear giant Nike and Swiss watchmaker Hublot. He is also the youngest player to be featured on the cover of the FIFA video game solo. It must be exhausting smashing all these records, but Mbappé seems to enjoy it.
8. Ronaldo: $160 Million
Ronaldo, also known as O Fenômeno or The Phenomenon, is considered one of the greatest players. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year three times, won two Ballon d'Or awards, and won the FIFA World Cup twice. To put it simply, he is a champ.
Nike definitely believed in Ronaldo. In 1998, the sportswear company signed the striker to a ten-year contract and a lifetime endorsement deal. He also has stakes in 9ine Sports and Entertainment agency, the Fort Lauder Strikers soccer team, and the Spanish team Real Valladolid. Ronaldo is truly a phenomenon.
7. Wayne Rooney: $170 Million
The Beatles aren't the only big thing to come out of Liverpool. With a net worth of $170 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, Rooney is also one of the biggest things to come from the English town. The forward holds the record for goalscoring for the England national team and Manchester United.
He spent most of his career playing for Manchester United, gaining a huge salary and even bigger endorsements. He signed with Nike, Ford, and Coca-Cola and agreed to write five books for HarperCollins with a five million pound (about $6.1 million) advance. That's not all! Rooney is currently coaching for D.C. United in Major League Soccer.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimović: $190 Million
Ibrahimović has been in the game for over twenty years, and it doesn't seem like it will be stopping anytime soon. He began playing for Malmö FF and then was transferred to Ajax. His entire career, he bounced around from team to team, but one thing stayed consistent - he was always well-paid.
Ibrahimović is the all-time leading goalscorer for Sweden and has represented his home country twice at FIFA World Cups. Everywhere he has gone, he has made an impact. His skills are undeniable, and so is his net worth. At one point, sportswear giant Nike even sponsored the player.
5. Neymar: $200 Million
Coming in at number five is Neymar. The Brazilian legend has been making waves ever since he stepped onto the field. He has scored over 100 goals for 3 separate teams and 77 goals for the Brazilian national team. He is part of the powerhouse group that helped to lead Paris Saint-Germain to its first Champions League Final.
Even people who don't follow football recognize his face because he is everywhere: He has signed with Puma, Volkswagen, Claro, and Unilever. He also nabbed a Netflix docuseries based on his life titled Neymar: The Perfect Chaos. Neymar is one of the world's most influential athletes, with a big net worth backing him up.
4. David Whelan: $210 Million
David Whelan is probably someone that won't be too known for their skills with a soccer ball. He scored three goals over 193 appearances as a soccer player over a ten-year career between 1956 and 1966. He eventually decided to retire from the sport to concentrate on his growing grocery business.
Whelan ended up selling his grocery business. Then, he acquired JJB and turned it into one of the biggest retailers in the UK. Whelan couldn't stay too far away from his beloved sport, though. He bought the Wigan Athletic Football Club. While his playing days may be past him, this soccer player is still worth a whole lot.
3. David Beckham: $450 Million
David Beckham made his professional debut at 17 with Manchester United, and since then, the world has been cheering his name. He has been hailed as one of the best midfielders. Over his 20-year career, Beckham earned 19 trophies and now is a co-owner of two soccer teams, Inter Miami CF and Salford City .
Beckham has become a cultural icon. He continues to do everything - from a lifetime deal with Adidas to his own video game on the Game Boy Advance to his own eyewear line. Not to mention, he is married to Victoria, Posh Spice from the Spice Girls. His net worth makes us want to say, "zig-ah-zig-ah!"
2. Cristiano Ronaldo: $500 Million
Coming in with a net worth of half a billion dollars, and in second place is living legend Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward has, time and time again, proven himself as one of the best to ever play soccer. He holds numerous records, including most appearances and goals in the Champions League.
According to Forbes, he is the first soccer player to earn a billion dollars in their career. Everyone wants a piece of him. The baller is the first to pass half a billion followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. He's been the subject of documentaries and even dropped his own perfume. Clearly, he's built himself quite an empire.
1. Lionel Messi: $600 Million
In first place for richest soccer player is none other than Lionel Messi. The Argentinian champ has a net worth of $600 million - with every penny of it well deserved. A natural talent, Messi remains at the top. He spent 20 years playing for Barcelona and became the top scorer with 672 goals in 778 games.
Messi's various endorsements from Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi, and more earn him a reported $33 million a year, according to Forbes. He enjoys it all in style with an extensive car collection, a private jet, and properties worldwide. There is no denying his excellence... or his paycheck!