Gone are the days when soccer players or footballers stayed at one club for their entire career, and in recent years many footballers have turned into hired mercenaries, ready to perform for the highest bidder. Many players leave home comforts in the search for higher wages, and according to research from betting sites of the Top 20 earners, only 2 players are still playing in the country of their birth. Of these, Gerard Pique has played abroad previously in England with Manchester United before returning to Spain.
The fact that both of these soccer players, Spaniard Pique and Kylian Mbappe from France, are European helps them massively to earning big money in their own countries as 75% of the top 20 earnings are plying their trade in Europe. This shows that the biggest money to be made in Football is to come from Europe, with the remaining players currently playing in China and America. These later countries are really tapping into the market in terms of money being paid to players, as previously these countries were seen as leagues where older players go to prolong the end of soccer their career.
Now the football associations in these countries are noticing the vast population that they have and using it to drive money into the game, especially China. They have now been able to attract younger players to their league, including 27 year old Oscar, number 6 on our list, and 15th place Hulk, who moved to the Chinese Super League at age 29.
Where you are born also seems to indicate whether you could be one of the higher paid players as 19 of the top 20 hail from either Europe or South America, with only Ivory Coast international Yaya Toure coming from any other continent. The most common country in the top 20 was Brazil with Neymar Jr, Oscar, Thiago Silva and Hulk all appearing in our list. All these players made the move into Europe very early on in their careers and are now reaping the benefits.
The two next highest countries both had 3 appearances on the list with France and Argentina sharing second place. With Uruguay and Colombia also appearing on the list, South America really is a hot bed of football talent with exactly half of the top 20 hailing from the continent.
Recent international successes may lead to improved financial deals at club level, as out of the 9 European players on the list, 3 hail from France who have just become World Champions by winning the coveted FIFA World Cup. It may well be that increased interest in these players have lead clubs to move and try to secure them on longer and better deals.
Here’s a run down of the top 10 highest paid soccer players in the world.
1. Lionel Messi $127M
2. Cristiano Ronaldo $109M
3. Neymar Jr. $105M
4. Paul Pogba $33M
5. Andres Iniesta $32.5M
6. Alexis Sanchez $30.8M
7. Kylian Mbappe $30.6M
8. Mesut Ozil $30.2M
9. Oscar $29M
10. Antoine Griezmann $27.7M
Quick question: How long before the highest paid soccer player in the world plays in the United States?