Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr)

The 10 highest-paid footballers in the world in 2023: Ronaldo top…

Professional football is a lucrative business in 2023 and the 10 highest-paid players on the planet are raking in huge sums both in wages and sponsorship deals.

Footballers’ salaries at the very top end of the game have risen exponentially in recent years, especially following the entrance onto the scene of huge multinationals, oligarchs and oil states as club owners.

The emergence of the Saudi Pro League has also had a huge impact on the top earners in the game. Amazingly so, eight of the top 10 earners in football are currently playing in Saudi Arabia.

Here, we look at the top 10 highest-earning football stars on the planet in 2023, based on their annual salary, with figures from French newspaper Le Parisien.

10. Kalidou Koulibaly – €30m (€577,000 per week)

The Senegal international had a rough first season in the Premier League and only lasted one year in England before departing for a fresh challenge elsewhere.

He was already on a lucrative wage at Chelsea, but Al-Hilal took this to a whole new level. Being paid a whopping €577,000 per week, Koulibaly is now the highest-paid defender in the world.

9. Riyad Mahrez – €35m (€673,000 per week)

The Premier League won’t quite be the same without the Algerian winger. You can hardly blame him for making the move to Saudi though considering he will now be earning more than any of his former teammates.

Mahrez will be a star in Saudi for Al-Ahli and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him putting up some ridiculous numbers in terms of goals and assists.

=7. Jordan Henderson – €40m (€769,000 per week)

The former Liverpool captain became the highest-paid English player in the world when he completed his move to Al-Ettifaq. He now singlehandedly earns more than this ridiculously talented XI.

Jordan Henderson of Liverpool during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

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=7. Sadio Mane – €40m (€769,000 per week)

For whatever reason, things just never clicked for Mane at Bayern Munich. Liverpool fans were devastated to lose him at the time, but the Senegalese forward hasn’t quite been the same since leaving Anfield.

He only lasted one year at the Allianz Arena before Saudi clubs came knocking. In the end, Al Nassr won the race to secure his signature and he will be paid a handsome €769,000 per week for his services.

“I don’t know what went wrong [at Bayern],” Jurgen Klopp told reporters.

“When he left us, he left us on a high in really good shape, world class player. New environment, new expectations maybe. I didn’t speak to Sadio about it.”

6. Lionel Messi – €45m (€865,000 per week)

It’s quite remarkable that Messi turned down an offer worth over €1billion to join the Saudi Pro League, but in the end, MLS was a more appealing project for the 36-year-old.

“I want to get back to enjoy myself, to enjoy my family, my children, the day-to-day,” Messi told reporters upon his signing for Inter Miami.

As you would expect, Messi is absolutely walking it in the United States. Now reunited with Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, we’ve not seen Messi this happy at club level for a long time.

5. Kylian Mbappe – €70m (€1,346,000 per week)

Given the stranglehold European football has had on football for the last several decades, it’s quite remarkable that Mbappe is now the only player in Europe who now makes it into the top 10 earners.

His long-term future at PSG is still in doubt, although he has recently been reintegrated into first team training after a spell with the bomb squad.

Transfer links to Real Madrid remain rife, with plenty believing he will join the Spanish club on a free transfer next summer upon his deal at PSG expiring. Watch this space.

=3. Neymar – €100m (€1,923,000 per week)

Champions League nights just won’t hit the same without Neymar. The Brazilian superstar recently made the jump to Al Hilal and is now earning even more than he was pocketing at PSG.

According to multiple sources, as part of his contract with Al Hilal Neymar will also get access to a private jet, an €80,000 win bonus, a huge mansion with staff and €500,000 for every Instagram post which promotes Saudi Arabia. Some crazy sums of money.

=3. N’Golo Kante – €100m (€1,923,000 per week)

The French midfielder now ranks as one of the highest earners in the world and he’s wasted no time in splashing some of his cash. Kante has used his new riches to purchase Belgian third-tier side Royal Excelsior Virton.

“Flavio [the previous chairman] is obviously extremely happy to be able to hand over the keys of the club to N’Golo Kante, a high-class player, not only for his footballing qualities but also and above all for his unanimously recognised human qualities,” Royal Excelsior said in a club statement

“Driven by his passion for football, the will of N’Golo Kante is to continue the structuring of the club in order to consolidate its foundations, stabilise the staff and eventually reconnect with the tradition of training RE Virton, via its Youth Academy.”

=1. Karim Benzema – €200m (€3,846,000 per week)

Having won everything on offer with Real Madrid, Benzema decided it was time for a fresh challenge this summer. The 35-year-old is now the joint-highest earner in the world, earning a ridiculous €3,846,000 per week playing for Al-Ittihad.

The French forward has adapted well to life in Saudi so far, scoring three goals in his first five matches for his new side. We’re sure he’ll deliver plenty of memorable moments for Al-Ittihad fans in the next few years to come.

=1. Cristiano Ronaldo – €200m (€3,846,000 per week)

Yeah, this is ridiculous. Still, both Ronaldo and Al Nassr seem happy enough with this arrangement.

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