Football’s Richest: The Three Highest-Paid Players on the Planet


Money isn’t everything, right? Well, I guess not, but that doesn’t make the latest revelations on highest-paid players any less interesting, and at times, somewhat comical.

After all, football wouldn’t be what it is today without money. Some people like that idea, some don’t, but either way, dollar/euro/pound symbols have been an undisputed factor in football’s exponential growth throughout the last century.

“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars – the rest I just squandered.” Me too, George, me too.

For a starting reference point, the legendary George Best was the first player to earn £1,000 per week in 1968. Taking inflation into account, that roughly translates to about £17,000 per week in today’s financial world.

What would that get you in today’s market? Probably not even a rotation player at Bournemouth.

In normal circumstances, lists like these are usually stabs in the dark, as player salaries remain confidential information held by respective football clubs.

However, since the release of ‘Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football’, some startling pieces of information have found their place as public knowledge.

Without further ado, here are the three highest-paid players in world football.

highest-earning players

3. Cristiano Ronaldo – earns £424,615 per week with Real Madrid (£22.08 million per year)

What a surprise, right?

Well, I guess the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t number one will come as a surprise to many.

And just to clear the air for everyone wondering how Ronaldo could be number three here but number one in the Forbes list of highest-paid athletes for 2017, which includes worldwide sports codes, I guess this is only taking his Real Madrid wages into account.

That is, we’re just going to quietly ignore all the millions of added dollars that Ronaldo earns in endorsements every year, and keep this as simple as possible by sticking to what these players earn by kicking a ball around.

Cristiano Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009—okay, you know who he is, and, quite frankly, there’s not much I can say negatively about him, or even the stupid amount of money he earns.

That will not be the case for these next two. So, duck your chin and strap yourself in tight, because I’m coming in swinging.

highest-earning players

2. Carlos Tevez – earns £634, 615 per week with Shanghai Shenhua (£32.99 million per year)

Ahh, Carlos Tevez: the story that keeps on giving.

The Argentine entered the footballing world in more a humble era, when simply refusing to play for Corinthians in 2006 was considered newsworthy for the now second-highest earning player on the planet.

His controversy-ridden, under-the-table dealing, third-party discombobulation of a transfer to West Ham resulted in as many plot twists, back tracking, character introductions and nonlinear reporting as a movie directed by the child of Guy Ritchie and Christopher Nolan if, you know, that was possible.

A subsequent move to Old Trafford yielded back-to-back Premier League titles but, given his history, you knew that his claim that he could ‘never imagine leaving Manchester United’ would somehow backfire.

And it did; spectacularly so. He joined Manchester City.

From refusing to come off the bench in the Champions League against Bayern Munich, putting his feet up and enjoying the occasional beachside Pina colada during a four-month garden leave and holding up a ‘R.I.P. Fergie’ sign after winning the Premier League, Tevez’s Manchester City career was a wet dream for the media.

Okay, I admit, the beachside Pina colada bit was absolute nonsense and should not at all be taken seriously, but Tevez did earn full pay from September 27, 2011 until February 14, 2012, despite not playing a single game for the club or even appearing at their training ground.

I could just about write a dossier on the entertainment that Carlos Tevez’s football career has produced, but while being sidetracked by his misdemeanours, I’ve neglected to mention that all this fruit-loopy behaviour did absolutely nothing to damage his ability to earn more money than you, I, and the combined wealth of the last seven generations of our respective families ever could.

Probably not more than this next guy, though.

highest-earning players

1. Ezequiel Lavezzi – earns £798,000 per week with Herbei China Fortune (£41.49 million per year)

Like a 3am Football Manager session on ecstasy, this is just straight out peculiar.

While I’m not sure how much I really believe this, Ezequiel Lavezzi is apparently the highest-paid footballer on the planet.

Not to say that Lavezzi is a bad player; he had a fine career as a free-roaming inside forward (there’s Football Manager talking to me again…)/winger at Napoli, forming a dangerous partnership with Edinson Cavani, and was decent in his time at Paris Saint-Germain.

But I just can’t wrap my head around who thought this would be a good idea.

He earns more money in a week than most people might be lucky to see in a decade, and has contributed about as much work to Herbei China Fortune as that guy in your university group assignment who shows up to class once a month.

If you thought I was trying to be facetious, just look at his stats in China: four goals in 22 appearances in the Chinese Super League, and, in his best Fernando Torres-waiting-for-his-first-Chelsea-goal impression, took 15 games to finally find the net for his new club.

Which I’m sure was really keeping him up at night as he collected, and continues to collect this very moment, £1.32, literally, every second.



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