Who Are The Highest Paid Football Players In The World

The Top Earners in Football 2023: Who’s Raking in the Big Bucks?

In the dynamic world of football, where transfers and shifts in leagues have become more frequent, players are chasing not just glory on the pitch, but also substantial paychecks. Amidst the Saudi Pro League’s efforts to attract top talent and Lionel Messi’s headline-making move to Inter Miami, it’s clear that the Premier League, La Liga, and other European divisions continue to be magnets for the best players. Let’s delve into the ranks of the highest-paid football players globally and uncover who’s topping the earnings chart. We’ve crunched the numbers to present you with a list of the top 10 earners, taking into account reliable reports and databases to ensure accuracy.

Exploring the Top 10 Highest-Paid Football Players

10. Kalidou Koulibaly: From Chelsea to Al Hilal – £500,000

Initially considered the perfect replacement for Antonio Rudiger at Chelsea, Kalidou Koulibaly’s fortunes took a turn within a year. He joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal for a hefty £20 million transfer fee. Despite a slightly underwhelming run in the Premier League, Koulibaly’s move significantly boosted his weekly earnings.

9. Riyad Mahrez: A Treble Winner’s Challenge – £580,000

Riyad Mahrez, fresh from clinching a treble with Manchester City in the 2022/23 season, sought a new challenge. His journey led him to a £30 million move to Al Ahli. The Algerian winger has inked a lucrative contract with the Saudi Professional League side, securing his future until 2027.

8. Jordan Henderson: A Surprising Twist – £650,000

In a surprising twist, Jordan Henderson bid farewell to Liverpool and England fans by leaving the Premier League behind. He joined forces with Steven Gerrard at Saudi Professional League’s Al-Ettifaq in July 2023, marking a monumental transfer worth £12 million. Henderson’s decision makes him the highest-paid English footballer in history.

7. Sadio Mane: A Change of Scenery – £650,000

After a lackluster season at Bayern Munich, Sadio Mane sought greener pastures for the second consecutive summer. The former Liverpool forward found himself alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, signing a four-year deal that extends until 2027.

6. Lionel Messi: A New Chapter in MLS – £750,000

Lionel Messi chose an unconventional path, opting for a move to David Beckham’s Inter Miami instead of returning to familiar grounds. Despite offers from Saudi Arabia and a potential emotional reunion with Barcelona, Messi joined Inter Miami on a free transfer after his PSG contract ended. As his career enters its twilight years, the World Cup winner has already left a significant mark on his new MLS team’s fortunes.

5. Kylian Mbappe: Dazzling Displays – £1.6m

Kylian Mbappe, now captain of the French national team, has earned his place at the top through spectacular performances for both his club and country. While a world-record deal lured him towards Saudi Arabia for a season, Mbappe ultimately decided to remain with PSG, possibly extending his contract in the process.

4. N’Golo Kante: From Chelsea to Al-Ittihad – £1.65m

Following the expiration of his contract with Chelsea at the close of the 2022/23 season, N’Golo Kante was drawn to Saudi Arabia by a two-year contract with Al-Ittihad. His extensive list of accolades, including World Cup and Champions League victories, cements his status as one of the sport’s most decorated players.

3. Neymar: Europe to Saudi Arabia – £2.5m

Joining the ranks of players leaving Europe for the lucrative Saudi Arabian leagues, Neymar made a high-profile move to Al Hilal on a two-year deal. Departing PSG in August 2023, Neymar’s transfer has left PSG pondering whether his costly world-record fee truly translated to success in their pursuit of Champions League glory.

2. Karim Benzema: Real Madrid to Al-Ittihad – £3.4m

Karim Benzema bid farewell to Real Madrid after a successful tenure, marking the end of his contract in the 2022/23 season. The 2022 Balon d’Or winner surprised the footballing world by inking a two-year deal with Saudi Professional League’s Al-Ittihad on a free transfer.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo: From Manchester to Saudi Arabia – £3.4m

Cristiano Ronaldo, undeniably one of football’s greatest, faced criticism for his move to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League. After parting ways with Manchester United in late 2022, Ronaldo embarked on a new chapter. While his decision to join Al Nassr might raise eyebrows, there’s no doubt that his bank balance is reaping the rewards.

Beyond the Earnings: The Changing Landscape of Football

As we analyze the earnings of these top football players, it’s clear that the football landscape is evolving. The allure of hefty paychecks is pulling players to unexpected destinations, reshaping the dynamics of the sport. However, it’s essential to remember that these figures don’t encompass the entirety of a player’s earnings. Sponsorship deals, bonuses, and extra fees can significantly inflate their income. In some cases, a player’s annual earnings can be instantly doubled, emphasizing the growing influence of commercial partnerships in the football world.

While traditional powerhouses like the Premier League and La Liga continue to be magnets for top talent, the rise of leagues like the Saudi Pro League highlights the increasingly global nature of football. As players embark on journeys to new horizons, football fans are treated to fresh narratives, unexpected alliances, and thrilling clashes on the pitch.


The highest-paid football players of 2023 are a testament to the changing tides of the sport. While Europe’s top leagues still command attention, new players and unexpected destinations are shaking up the scene. As the football landscape continues to evolve, the financial aspect adds another layer of excitement and intrigue to the game. While the figures are impressive, they are only part of the story. The true magic lies in the passion, dedication, and love for the game that players bring to the field, regardless of the size of their paycheck.

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