The 10 highest paid players in world football in 2021: Messi, CR7, Neymar…

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s no secret that elite footballers are well-paid for their talents and players from Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are among the 10 highest-earning stars in the world. 

Forbes release an annual list of the highest-paid athletes across all sports and footballers regularly appear in the upper echelons of it. As ever, there are a few names whose inclusion comes as a surprise and some that are no surprise at all.

Lionel Messi has been the leading figure for a number of years, but Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken him in this year’s list. Both players signed new contracts with new clubs over the summer, but Ronaldo’s endorsements give him the edge over his long-time competitor.

Neymar remains in third place and earns over double what PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe takes home annually, while Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah is incredibly popular in his home country of Egypt and a bumper new contract with Liverpool takes him into the top five here.

The legacy of Real Madrid’s overspending can be seen by the presence of both Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard in the top 10 and Paul Pogba may be one to keep an eye on for 2022’s list if he leaves Manchester United next summer.

One further point of interest – the legendary Andreas Iniesta is the only non-European-based player to make the list. Iniesta pockets a £26million salary playing for Vissel Kobe in Japan.

Note: you can peruse the full list by Forbes here

10. Eden Hazard – £21million

Salary: £19m

Endorsements: £2m

9. Gareth Bale – £23.5m

Salary: £19m

Endorsements: £4.5m

8. Paul Pogba – £25m

Salary: £19.8m 

Endorsements: £5.2m

7. Andres Iniesta – £26m

Salary: £22.7m

Endorsements: £3.3m

6. Robert Lewandowski – £26m

Salary: £19.8m

Endorsements: £6m

5. Mohamed Salah – £31m

Salary: £18.3m

Endorsements: £12.7m 

Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring for Liverpool.

READ: Comparing Mo Salah’s record after 150 Liverpool games with Robbie Fowler’s

4. Kylian Mbappe – £31.5m

Salary: £20.5m

Endorsements: £11.5m 

3. Neymar – £69.5m

Salary: £54.95m

Endorsements: £14.6m 

2. Lionel Messi – £80.5m

Salary: £54.95m

Endorsements: £25.6m

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £91.5m

Salary: £51.25m

Endorsements: £40.25m 

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Newcastle. September 11 2021.

READ: 11 brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo stats from his second Man Utd debut


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