The world’s biggest footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are unsurprisingly, on top of Forbes’ 2020 list of the 10 highest-earning footballers which was released earlier this week.
Forbes spoke with clubs, players’ agents, commercial sponsors and football experts to come up with the names and ranking.
Messi is number on the list with $126million which is from his $92m salary and $34m in endorsements. The Barcelona superstar has deals with adidas, Pepsi, Budweiser and AI-vision company, OrCam Technologies.
His 2020 earning now takes his career earnings to $1billion, making him football’s second billionaire after Ronaldo who is number two on this year’s list.
Juventus megastar Ronaldo is on course to earn $117m. While most of his 2020 earnings come from his salary, the Portugal international also makes a lot of money endorsing brands from his social media accounts.
Ronaldo is the most popular athlete in the world with 457 million followers across his social media accounts where he endorses companies like Nike, Herbalife and Clear Shampoo.
In third place is Brazilian superstar Neymar, who earned $78 million from French club Paris Saint-Germain. The other part of his earnings came from endorsing brands like Puma, the company he joined after he ditched Nike.
In fourth position is Neymar’s PSG teammate, Kylian Mbappe. The precocious French youngster earned $28 million in salaries. Part of his hefty sum in deals comes from an endorsement deal with FIFA 21, as a cover star.
Egypt’s Mohammed Salah is the first Premier League player on the list. The Liverpool forward makes substantial income from adidas and Vodafone Egypt among others.
In sixth place is another Premier League player, French World Cup winner, Paul Pogba, who has endorsement deals with the likes of Call of Duty and Pepsi.
Still yet another Frenchman follows, with fellow World Cup winner and Barcelona forward, Antoine Griezmann who apart from his salary, makes money from the Esports team he launched.
Despite his recent travails at Real Madrid. The soon to be Tottenham Hotspurs player is still raking in good money. He might not have played much for Real Madrid in the past one year, but he is still entitled to his pay as his contract stipulates. Apart from this, his superstar status in both England and Spain ensures he gets his fair share as far as endorsements are concerned.
Ninth on the list is a player who has arguably been the best in the world this year, Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski. Lewandowski had a good year and many feel he was robbed by France Football’s decision not to hold the Ballon D’or this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But there’s no robbing the Polish striker of his money though.
Completing the top ten is a third Premier League player and the only goalkeeper on the list, David de Gea. The Manchester United shot stopper is one of his club’s highest earners, while his top performances over the years means he’s a also a magnet for endorsements.