Highest-paid football players in the world 2023: Who earns the most?
Football players earn vast sums of money every year and we've rounded up the highest-paid stars in the world in 2023.
They say money makes the world go round – and that's certainly true about the game of football.
Two teams of 11 players kicking a ball around a pitch is big business in every part of the world, although the most amount of cash can be found kicking about in Europe's top leagues.
The biggest earners in the game are well remunerated for their efforts, with ageing aces at the end of their careers and up-and-coming talents equally adept at bagging mega-money contracts.
It certainly pays to be good at football, but who are the highest-paid players in the world? We've put the calculator to good use to work out the 10 stars earning the most from their clubs.
RadioTimes.com examines the top 10 highest-paid players in the world. We've based our figures on reports from trusted news sources and databases to boost our accuracy.
All figures mentioned are before tax – unless specified – and do not include bonuses, extra fees and players' various sponsorship deals which, in some cases, can instantly double their annual income.
Highest-paid footballers in the world 2023
10. Casemiro (Manchester United) – £350,000
Eyebrows were raised when Manchester United shelled out an initial £60million for Casemiro and handed the experienced midfielder a four-year deal.
The 31-year-old former Real Madrid ace has been a smart signing for the Red Devils, however, and is one of the first names on Erik ten Hag's teamsheet.
9. Erling Haaland (Manchester City) – £375,000
The Manchester City goal machine has quickly emerged as one of the hottest properties around and has been worth every penny to Pep Guardiola thanks to his record-breaking efforts on the pitch.
The payroll staff at the Etihad Stadium must regularly dig deep into the club's coffers to pay the goal bonuses inserted into Erling Haaland's contract.
8. David Alaba (Real Madrid) – £400,000
After 12 seasons at Bayern Munich, David Alaba allowed his contract to expire and seal a free transfer to Real Madrid in 2021.
The versatile defender signed a five-year deal with the Spanish capital club and played an important role in La Liga and Champions League triumphs in his debut campaign at the Bernabeu.
7. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – £400,000
Kevin De Bruyne has been worth every penny for Manchester City following a £55million transfer from Wolfsburg in 2015.
The midfield magician has helped the Sky Blues to 10 major trophies during that spell and became the club's top earner when signing a long-term contract extension in April 2021.
6. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) – £400,000
It's fair to say Eden Hazard's move to Real Madrid in 2019 hasn't exactly worked out how the Belgian winger expected.
While he's collected a few trophies and plenty of cash in that time, the former Chelsea star has failed to make more than 23 appearances in a single season with injuries and poor form seeing him regularly left out of the starting XI.
5. Andres Iniesta (Vissel Kobe) – £450,000
A shock name on the list as the Barcelona legend effectively called time on his career at the top level when joining Japanese club Vissel Kobe on a free transfer at the age of 34 in 2018.
Andres Iniesta is still quids in even in the twilight of his career after signing a contract extension in May 2021.
4. Neymar (PSG) – £950,000
Paris Saint-Germain are responsible for dishing out the biggest contracts in European football and Neymar was the first big signing of their Qatar-owned era when joining from Barcelona for a then world-record fee in 2017.
The Brazilian committed his long-term future to the French capital club when signing a four-year deal towards the end of the 2020/21 season.
3. Lionel Messi (PSG) – £1m
Lionel Messi made headlines across the globe in 2021 when Barcelona announced they could not afford to extend his contract, allowing Paris Saint-Germain to sign the biggest name in the game on a free transfer.
The World Cup winner has entered the final months of his contract with the Ligue 1 champions and a host of clubs in money-rich leagues are jostling for his signature so one more bumper pay day could be on the horizon.
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2. Kylian Mbappe (PSG) – £1.6m
The new captain of the French national team certainly deserves his place towards the top of this list thanks to his dazzling displays for club and country.
Kylian Mbappe signed a mega three-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the 2022 summer transfer window, which reportedly gives him a say in how the club is run, but continues to be linked with a blockbuster move to Real Madrid.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr) – £3.4m
One of the greatest players in the history of the game attracted plenty of criticism for moving to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League after a mutual termination of his contract at Manchester United in late 2022.
It's laughable to think Cristiano Ronaldo signed the two-and-a-half-year deal for a footballing challenge, but his bank balance is certainly benefiting.
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