The 2022 highest-paid footballers have seen Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo drop from the first spot.
The Portugal international apparently is no more Manchester United’s obvious first choice, but he remains one of the highest-paid footballers in the world.
The Portugal international returned to Old Trafford in 2021 on a lucrative contract, earning him the club’s highest-paid player.
His salary eclipses those of the Premier League’s top players, despite the fact that Erik ten Hag’s presence at Old Trafford has curtailed his starting possibilities.
Ronaldo also earns a substantial sum through endorsement deals, with a number of off-field relationships augmenting the amount of money he earns annually.
This is not enough to earn him the first slot, however, as the top 10 also contains talents from three other leagues and four Premier League players.
According to a top 10 list compiled by Sportico (via B/R Football), Antoine Griezmann occupies the tenth spot. The French international reportedly gets $22 million (£20,3 million) in salaries and $5.5 million in endorsements.
Griezmann’s personal future is uncertain, despite his form at the international level clearing the path for him to be included in Les Bleus’ World Cup-defending group.
The attacker is on loan from Barcelona to Atletico Madrid, but his parent club is apparently mulling legal action due to Atleti’s unconventional use of him.
Kevin De Bruyne ranks just above Griezmann in tenth place. The Belgian is Manchester City’s highest-earning player, earning $25.5 million in 2022, although his endorsement earnings of $3.5 million are among the lowest on the list.
Next in line is Raheem Sterling, who sits eighth overall and edges out his former teammate De Bruyne for a podium slot among Premier League players.
Sterling had just one year remaining on his contract with Manchester City when he departed for Chelsea in the summer, sealing a £50 million agreement with the Blues.
Just above Sterling, meanwhile, is the lone player on the list who plays for a team outside of Europe. Andres Iniesta, a World Cup-winning midfielder, departed Barcelona for Japanese club Vissel Kobe in 2018, and his projected 2022 earnings are $23 million in salary, just above Sterling’s $21.4 million, plus $7 million in endorsements.
With additional endorsements, Eden Hazard could have been in the top five. Instead, the Belgian is only behind Iniesta with $31.3 million, $28.5 million of which comes from his pay at Real Madrid as he looks to rebuild his career following a couple of difficult years in Spain.
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Mohamed Salah, who recently re-signed with Liverpool, occupies the fifth position.
The Egyptian is now the highest-earning player in Liverpool’s history, although he earns less in salaries than City’s De Bruyne and relies on $15m in endorsement income to crack the top five.
From that point on, though, there is a vast chasm. Indeed, each of the four players above Salah on the list earns more than double his total of $39.5 million.
Neymar is ranked fourth with a $56 million salary and sponsorship deals worth more than Salah’s salary alone.
And it should come as no surprise that the Brazilian is one of three Paris Saint-Germain players in the top four.
Fans of Ronaldo may be thrilled to learn that, at least according to this list, he has surpassed Lionel Messi.
The Argentine has won more Ballons d’Or than Ronaldo and has earned the honour more recently, but he trails his great adversary by $3 million in this category.
Messi left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021, just prior to Ronaldo’s transfer to Manchester United.
And while the Copa America champion earns a higher salary than Ronaldo, his endorsements are worth ‘just’ $48 million compared to Ronaldo’s $60 million.
Indeed, Ronaldo’s endorsements generate so much income that he has been able to take second place despite earning less than Neymar. However, he still trails Kylian Mbappe in terms of earnings.
Mbappe, who will not turn 24 until December, has amassed a hefty $20 million in sponsorships after guiding PSG to another championship in 2022.
However, his compensation is the real story, with the France international shunning interest from Real Madrid to sign a new contract worth a staggering $105 million, according to Sportico.
Kylian Mbappé is this year's top earner 💸 pic.twitter.com/1hh8Dg2fiC— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 16, 2022
“I am very happy to stay at PSG in France,” Mbappe said in May when committing his future to the club. “I always said Paris is my home, I hope we continue to play football and win trophies together.
“Thanks for everything. I hope that I will continue to do what I prefer to with you all… and win titles together! Thanks a lot.”
World Cup champion Neymar, who joined PSG after reaching the semifinals of the Champions League with Monaco, will surely benefit from the hefty salary.
However, having fallen short thus far, a European championship would be even more desirable than all that money.