Richest Footballers in The World 2021

In the advent of the coronavirus, financial constraints have led to employers slashing the wages of their players as well as instigated the vetoing of lucrative contract extensions, which has culminated to some players falling out of the richest footballers in the world list .

This article on the wealthiest football players is a timely update that has noted the decline in riches of some of the world’s big guns with some surprise names now thrown into the wealth mix.

Riches Footballers In the World (2021)

15. Eden Hazard

$100 million

Eden Hazard is a Belgian forward who is most famous for his successful time at English club, Chelsea. The 1989-born Belgium captain became popular for his creativity, dribbling and passing ability that has immortalised him in a pantheon of Premier League greats.

He is a Premier League winner, Europa League winner, FA Cup winner and La Liga winner after joining Real Madrid for a club record fee. Hazard captained Belgium to their highest World Cup finales finish in 2018, where they finished third.

14. Zinedine Zidane

 $120 million

Zinedine Zidane is a retired French player who is the current manager of Spanish heavyweights, Real Madrid. The 48-year old enjoyed an illustrious and highly successful career that saw him don the colours of Juventus and Real Madrid.

He is a three time winner of the FIFA Best Player of the Year award as well as the prestigious Ballon d’Or in 1998. For club, he has won the Spanish title once, Italian title twice and the holy grail of club football, the UEFA Champions League, once.

For the French senior national team, he has a World Cup in his cabinet, a runner’s up medal and a European championship. He is today respected as one of the greatest players of all time.

13. Mesut Özil

$120 Million

Mesut Ozil, born October, 15 1988, is a former German international and a current player for Turkish side, Fenerbahce. His most notable club stint were at London club, Arsenal and Spain’s Real Madrid. During his time in Spain, he won the Spanish top flight championship in 2012 as well as two other domestic titles.

In England, he aided Arsenal to four FA Cup titles, which earned him a lucrative annual salary of over £14 million. He then left the club in acrimonious circumstances for his country of origin, Turkey. He holds the record for the second most assists in a league campaign with 19.

For Germany, he was the pivot of a star-studded team that won the World Cup in 2014 before retiring prematurely in 2018. He is the player with the most German Player of the Year awards (5).

He is the only active player on this richest footballers in the world list not to play in the Top 5 leagues.

12. Andrés Iniesta

$120 million

Andre’s Iniesta is a retired Spanish international and Barcelona legend who currently plays for Japanese side, Vissel Kobe. Regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, Iniesta is a product of Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy.

He is a two-time treble winner and has 35 club titles to his name, making him the most decorated Spanish player in history. Only the brilliance of Lionel Messi prevented him winning a Ballon D’or in 2020, finishing runner up.

Iniesta is famously remembered for scoring the dramatic extra time goal that won Spain their first ever World Cup title in 2010.

His move to Japan earned him a lucrative annual salary of over £23 million, making him one of the world’s highest paid players.

11. Paul Pogba

$125 million

Paul Pogba, born March 15 1993, is a French international and midfielder for Manchester United. He is regarded as one of the most gifted midfielders of his generation and has also played for Italian heavyweights, Juventus.

At the age of 23, he was named in UEFA and FIFA’s teams of the year having won the golden boy two years prior. He helped Juventus to four Italian title in a row, as well as the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final, for the first time in 12 years.

In 2016, he returned to Manchester United for a fee of £89.3 million, making him the world’s most expensive player at the time. In 2018, he won the World Cup for France having scored in the final himself. He is currently on an annual wage of £15 million.

Paul Pogba is the younger richest footballer in the world.

10. Thierry Henry

$130 million

Born August 17, 1977, Thierry Henry is a former French professional player who played for Monaco, Juventus, Arsenal and Barcelona. He is viewed by many as one of the greatest strikers of all time and probably the best player the Premier league has ever seen.

Henry boasts numerous individual titles to his name including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year twice, the FWA Footballer of the Year three times, a six consecutive inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year.

He won two premier league titles with Arsenal and was part of the Arsene Wenger-led unbeaten Invincibles of 2004. He has also won the golden Boot award a record four times as well as the French Player of the Year a record five times. With the national team, he has a World Cup (1988), UEFA Euro (2000) and FIFA Confederations Cup (2003), to his name. He is also the country’s record goalscorer.

He is currently a football coach with his most recent managerial stint being with America’s Major League Soccer side, Montreal Impact.

9. Gareth Bale

$145 million

Currently one of the highest paid players in the world, Gareth Bale is a Welsh and Real Madrid forward, currently on loan at boyhood club, Tottenham.

Known for his blistering pace and ability to strike from distance, Gareth Bale eclipsed Ronaldo’s record of being the world’s most expensive player in 2013.

In his first season in Spain, he scored a wonder goal in the Copa del Ray final against arch rivals, Barcelona, before replicating the feat in the Champions League final and also the Club World Cup, starting to a flyer.

In 2018, he famously rose from the bench to score two goals to win the Champions League for his side against Liverpool. He is Wales’ current highest goal scorer and has won the Welsh Footballer of the Year award a record six times. He earns over £31 million annually.

Bale is the only on-loan player who makes this list of the richest footballers in the world.

8. De Lima Ronaldo

$160 million

Brazilian great and former Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Milan legend is a stranger to no one. Popular called R9 and O Fenômeno, the 1976 born forward is unanimously regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

With two Ballon D’ors and three FIFA World Player of the Year awards in his cabinet, he is also one of the most honoured footballers of all time. He is the youngest recipient of both the FIFA World Player of the Year award (1996, 20) and Ballon D’or (1997, 21).

Ronaldo is a two-time world cup winner and a member of the greatest all-time Ballon d’Or Dream Team. He is currently a businessman and president of La Liga club Real Valladolid.

7. Wane Rooney

$170 million

Former England international, Wayne Rooney, is the newest retiree on this list as he just retired in 2021. He is the current manager for championship side, Derby County, having enjoyed a successful stint with Everton and especially Manchester United.

He is England as well as Manchester United’s all time goal scorer. Rooney is one of just two English men to have won the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, League Cup, UEFA Europa League, and FIFA Club World Cup. He stands today as the Premier League’s second highest all time scorer and has the third-highest number of league assists.

Rooney is also England’s second-most-capped player.

6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

$130 million

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a Swedish professional player who has played for an impressive list of the top clubs in the world. Playing in every of the big five leagues except Germany, he has turned out for Ajax, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.

He is the oldest active player on the richest footballers in the world list as well as the player with the longest playing career. The enigmatic forward is regarded as one of the greatest strikers of all time.

Zlatan has over 30 trophies to his name, making him one of the world’s most decorated player and has scored in the last four decades. He is Sweden’s all-time goal scorer.

5. Neymar


The most surprising aspect of Neymar’s inclusion in this list of the richest footballers in the world is that he is ranked so low. The Brazilian winger, born February 5, 1992, is regarded as one of the most gifted players of all time.

He is fondly remembered as one of Barcelona’s feared MSN trio comprising of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. He finished third on the Ballon D’or podium in 2015 after an impressive season that saw him win the continental treble.

Neymar is currently the world’s most expensive player in history, having moved from Barcelona to PSG. He helped the Parisians to their first ever Champions League final in 2020, eventually losing to Bayern Munich.

He is currently Brazil’s second highest goal scorer, captaining them to their first Olympic gold in 2016.

With an annual salary of over £78 million, he is currently one of the most famous and most marketable sportsman in the world.

4. Dave Wheelan

$210 million

The oldest player on the richest footballers in the world ist is Dave Whelan. He is also the only one not to have professionally kicked a football in over half a century is Dave Whelan. Born, November 24 1936, Dave Whelan last played professionally in 1966 but has invested so much in business that his net worth favorably competes with the newer generations.

 He bough Wigan Athletic in 1995 when they were a third tier side and steered them to the Premier League in 2005, beginning the burgeoning of his net worth. The club dramatically won the FA Cup against Manchester City in 2013, their first major trophy, but were relegated few days later after 8 years.

Whelan was also owner for retail chain, JJB sports and DW Sports Fitness before selling the aforementioned. He bought Manchester United some time in the 1980s but the deal was regrettably scrapped.

3. David Beckham

$450 million

One of the finest free kick specialists of all time, David Beckham is a former English professional footballer, current president & co-owner of Inter Miami CF and Salford City.

His most notable club stints came at Manchester United, Real Madrid, Milan and PSG. Beckham is the first English man to win a trophy in four countries, namely USA, England, France and Spain.

He has won the Champions League and Premier league six times. Beckham was inducted into the British Hall of fame in 2013 and was the year’s highest paid footballer globally. His Major League Soccer club, Inter Miami, began operating in 2020.

Beckham joins an illustrious top three of the richest footballers in the world.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

$500 million

One of the greatest players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the second richest footballer in the world.

Having enjoyed huge success in three different countries, the Portuguese is also one of the most decorated players in history. He has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, winning the domestic double in all three and the UEFA Champions league in the first two.

He is the Champions League highest goal scorer and top assist provider. Ronaldo is the first European player to score 100 international goals and the second player in history.

He was once the most expensive player in history, and is the current most expensive Italian acquisition. He is Portugal’s most capped player and was named the best Portuguese player of all time by his home nation. In 2016, he secured Portugal their first major tournament trophy with the win of the UEFA Euros.

In 2016 and 2017, he was the highest paid footballer in the world, according to Forbes. By 2020, he became the first footballer in history to earn one billion dollar, the third sportsman in the world. Ronaldo has five Ballon D’or and five Champions League to his name, which is a record.

The legend earns £70 million a year, sitting second on the richest footballers in the world list. 

1. Lionel Messi

$600 million

When Messi’s salary details were leaked by an internal source in early 2021, the figures revealed were astonishing. It is no surprise that the argentine chose to sue whoever was responsible for the leak.

The leak showed that Messi’s earnings were the largest in the history of sport. From 2017 till the contract expires in 2021, Messi will earn over £555 million, at the rate of a staggering £133 million per season. This enthrones him top of the richest footballers in the world. 

Some have understandably termed the fees justifiable as the Argentinean and Barcelona captain is arguably the greatest player of all time. His achievements include a record six European golden shoe, an unmatchable six Ballon D’or and a club-record 33 trophies with Barcelona.

A one-club man, Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga, a single La Liga and European league season, 36 hat-tricks in La Liga, the most, and 8 in the UEFA Champions League, another record. He also has the most assists in La Liga, a single La Liga and European league season and the Copa America.

No player has scored more goals for a single club.

 Richest Footballers In The World 2021 Recap

Here is a list recap of the 15 richest footballers in the world for 2021:

15. Eden Hazard

14. Zinedine Zidane

13. Mesut Ozil

12. Andres Iniesta

11. Paul Pogba

10. Thierry Henry

9. Gareth Bale

8. De Lima Ronaldo

7. Wayne Rooney

6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

5. Neymar

4. Dave Whelan

3. David Beckham

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

1. Lionel Messi

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