10 highest-paid footballers in the world

Gareth Bale earns £34 per minute and he’s third on the list. Check out the top 10.

Meryl D'Souza November 15, 2016

It’s been a pretty big week for Cristiano Ronaldo. First, he signed a new five-year contract with his current club Real Madrid that will keep the Portuguese star at the Santiago Bernabéu at least until 2021. Hours later, he pipped Lionel Messi to the Alfredo di Stefano trophy for being the best player in La Liga last season.

The next day, the world’s highest paid athlete signed a new lifetime contract with Nike. For those of you unfamiliar with Nike's lifetime deals, only the brand's top athletes get one: LeBron James, Roger Federer, Rory McIlroy and so on. And they've all got Michael Jordan to thank for paving the path. Neither Nike nor Ronaldo have confirmed how much the deal is worth, but it’s hard to see Ronaldo settling for anything less than what Nike's other top performers are on.

To top it all off, the 31-year-old winger took centre stage in what many are calling the best mannequin challenge video made by a football team. We’ll let you be the judge of that.

Ronaldo’s new Real Madrid deal will keep him at the world’s most valuable club until his 36th birthday. Not only that, the Portuguese forward has said he intends to sign another one when the new deal expires and expects to continue playing until he turns 41.

“Who knows what the future holds,” Ronaldo said. “Of course, I would like to end my career at this club. This is my penultimate contract. I want to be here for many years to come. I’m overjoyed.”

Not many will bet against Ronaldo playing well into his forties. The man is a machine. He’ll be following in the footsteps of his former teammate, Ryan Giggs by doing so, but one would assume that Ronaldo could push on and play in China or America when his time at Madrid comes to an end.

Ronaldo’s contract – which will see him earn £365,000-a-week after tax – came a week after Gareth Bale put pen to paper for the club in a deal that made the Welshman the third highest-paid footballer in the world. Here we take a look at the players that make up the top 10:

Cristiano Ronaldo
Club: Real Madrid
Earnings: £365,000 per week, £19m per year

Ronaldo is only the second team athlete after Michael Jordan to rank as the highest-paid since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990. With this contract, it doesn’t look like he’ll be going down anytime soon.


Lionel Messi
Club: Barcelona
Earnings: £365,000 per week, £19m per year*

Lionel Messi’s club contract mimics Ronaldo’s. However, the Portuguese has the upper hand when it comes to bonuses and sponsorships.


Gareth Bale
Club: Real Madrid
Earnings: £346,000 per week, £18m per year*

The Welshman has only gone from strength to strength since swapping Tottenham Hotspur for Real Madrid and now that he’s the third highest-paid player in the world, it’s hard to imagine him making the trip back to London.


Hulk
Club: Shanghai SIPG
Earnings: £317,000 per week, £16.5m per year

Who’d have thought China would be paying over the top fees for players way past their prime? Well, China is and Hulk isn’t complaining.


Paul Pogba
Club: Manchester United
Earnings: £290,000 per week, £15m per year

Of course, they give him a bumper contract. They paid £89 million just to get him from Juventus. It may not make business sense in terms of Pogba’s output – which up until now has been 10 games, two goals and countless dabs – but those shirt sales must be raking in pounds.


Neymar
Club: Barcelona
Earnings: £289,000 per week, £15m per year*

There will come a time when Neymar will be asked to take over from Lionel Messi at Barcelona. Until that time, Barcelona is doing all they can to make sure they hold on to the Brazilian.


Graziano Pelle
Club: Shandong Luneng
Earnings: £260,000 per week, £13.5m per year

The striker with immaculate hair has joined Hulk in China to earn an incredible amount of dough.


Wayne Rooney
Club: Manchester United
Earnings: £260,000 per week, £13.5m per year

People may keep harping on about how the English striker is done and it’s time for him to retire. Clearly Manchester United do not concur.


Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Club: Manchester United
Earnings: £250,000 per week, £13m per year

When the season first started, Zlatan seemed like he was worth every dime but as the season progressed, it seems like the Swede is more of a liability. Hopefully, his recent brace against Southampton ushers a return to form.


Sergio Aguero
Club: Manchester City
Earnings: £240,000 per week £12.5m per year

When he isn’t missing a quarter of the season due to injury, Aguero is a fantastic striker. Hence the pay.


Yaya Toure
Club: Manchester City
Earnings: £240,000 per week, £12.5m per year

Turns out holding your club to ransom almost every year just to get a new contract has its perks.


All estimated figures are pre-tax, except * where figures are post-tax. Sums may vary according to bonus payments.

List source: Daily Mail