Who are the richest footballers in the world right now, in 2024? In this article, I’ll share with you the wealthiest, highest-paid footballers.
Football stands as the most spectacular and beloved sport globally, captivating audiences in over 200 countries. With millions of fans worldwide, the game’s craze transcends borders.
Dive into the current list of the top 10 richest football players in the world to find your favorite player, you will be shocked at who made it to the number one spot.
As you might have seen in our other articles about the richest footballers in Nigeria, and the richest footballers in Kenya, as well as other net worth articles about your favorite sports celebrities, we strive to always provide up-to-date information.
For genuine football enthusiasts, this compilation is a must-see, shedding light on the staggering salaries and off-field earnings of these athletes.
In this 2024 overview, explore the immense wealth accumulated by football players, showcasing the industry’s financial prowess, and the lucrative opportunities for these veterans through sports and brand endorsements.
Who is the Richest Footballer in the World?
Faiq Bolkiah is currently recognized as the world’s wealthiest football player. With an impressive net worth of $20 billion, his affluence is largely derived from a substantial family inheritance. Faiq Bolkiah is part of Brunei’s royal lineage, being the son of the Brunei Prince.
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Top 10 Richest Footballers in the World 2024
Below are the top 10 wealthiest football players in the world:
Now, let’s take it one after the other.
10. Alexandre Pato – $145 million
Renowned for his exceptional on-field prowess and goal-scoring ability, Alexandre Pato, one of the richest footballers in the world, is a former striker for Milan, Corinthians, Chelsea, and Tianjin Quanjian. He secures the eleventh spot among the world’s wealthiest footballers.
Throughout his football career, Pato amassed a significant fortune, combining lucrative salaries and endorsement deals. At AC Milan, he reportedly earned around $6 million annually, complemented by partnerships with Nike and Pepsi.
Since retiring from football, Pato has diversified his wealth through investments in real estate and technology startups. His marriage to the accomplished actress and model Rebeca Abravanel adds to his overall affluence, solidifying his position as one of the globe’s richest footballers.
9. Ronaldo Nazário – $160 million
Ronaldo Luz Nazário de Lima, the football legend who graced clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid, and AC Milan, secures the ninth spot among the richest footballers in the world.
Acknowledged as one of the greatest players in history, Ronaldo not only earned substantial income through contracts, sponsorships, and endorsements during his illustrious playing career but has also translated his success into a thriving entrepreneurial journey.
Post-retirement, Ronaldo ventured into diverse business domains, establishing a sports marketing company and a chain of gyms in Brazil. Beyond entrepreneurship, he strategically invested in real estate and holds significant shares in clubs like Real Valladolid, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, and Cruzeiro. Ronaldo’s imprint extends further as the proprietor of 9ine Sports & Entertainment, the agency that nurtured talents like Neymar.
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8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – $190 million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the football maestro renowned for his stellar career with clubs like Ajax, Barcelona, Milan, PSG, Manchester United, and the Los Angeles Galaxy, claims the ninth spot among the world’s richest footballers. Accumulating numerous titles and accolades, Ibrahimovic’s on-field prowess solidifies his status as one of the premier footballers of his era.
However, Ibrahimovic’s influence extends far beyond the football pitch. The Swede has ventured into successful business enterprises, boasting his clothing line, fragrances, and investments in various companies. His entrepreneurial flair aligns seamlessly with his role as a sought-after brand ambassador, holding endorsement agreements with global giants like Nike, Volvo, and Samsung.
In a bold move, Ibrahimovic became a co-owner of the Swedish club Hammarby in 2019, acquiring a stake in Anschutz Entertainment Group Sweden (AEG), the primary investor in the Los Angeles Galaxy. This strategic involvement underlines Ibrahimovic’s journey from football sensation to a shrewd business magnate.
7. Neymar – $200 million
Brazil’s Neymar, hailed as one of soccer’s most gifted players, holds the seventh spot among the richest footballers in the world. In a groundbreaking move in 2017, Neymar embarked on a record-setting transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, commanding a staggering transfer fee of €222 million, subsequently elevating his annual compensation to €30 million net.
Continuing with PSG, Neymar strategically secured multiple contract extensions, amplifying his earnings and solidifying his status among the global football elite. Beyond the pitch, Neymar has strategically aligned with powerhouse brands, including Nike, Red Bull, and Beats by Dre, reaping the benefits of lucrative endorsement agreements. Forbes estimates that Neymar garnered a remarkable $20 million from endorsements alone in 2021.
In a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit, Neymar has diversified his wealth by investing in various business ventures. Notably, he co-owns NR Sports, a company managing his image and that of other athletes, including Olympic gold medalist Thiago Braz.
Additionally, Neymar has ventured into the culinary world with his restaurant chain, “Neymar Jr. Steakhouse,” further cementing his journey from football sensation to shrewd businessman.
6. Dave Whelan – $210 million
Footballer turned entrepreneur David Whelan secures the sixth spot among the world’s richest footballers. After gracing the football fields for Blackburn Rovers and Crewe Alexandra in the 1950s and 1960s, Whelan faced an abrupt end to his playing career due to injury.
In the 1970s, transitioning from the pitch to the boardroom, Whelan founded JJB Sports, a sports retail chain. Rapid expansion propelled the brand to prominence, establishing it as a major player in the UK sports retail landscape with numerous outlets.
Whelan strategically capitalized on his business acumen, reportedly selling his stake in JJB Sports for a substantial £190 million in 2007, strategically avoiding the financial turmoil that plagued the company in 2012.
Diversifying his wealth, Whelan expanded his portfolio with ownership of health centers and a property development company. This multifaceted success cements Whelan’s legacy as not only a footballer but also a shrewd entrepreneur who navigated seamlessly from the sports arena to the world of commerce.
5. David Beckham – $400 million
Fifth on the list of the world’s richest footballers, David Beckham’s success transcends the pitch. His illustrious career, spanning clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, Milan, PSG, and Los Angeles Galaxy, made him one of the highest-paid footballers ever, securing lucrative contracts and endorsements.
Beyond football, Beckham’s marketability soared, fostering endorsement deals with global brands like Adidas, Armani, H&M, and Pepsi. His marriage to Victoria, a former Spice Girl turned designer, added to his allure, connecting him deeply with the fashion industry.
As a savvy businessman, Beckham established his fragrance brand, collaborated on various products, and invested in football ventures such as Inter Miami FC, a London football academy, and Salford City FC. Partnering with the Global Brands Group, he strategically manages his brand and commercial interests.
Beckham’s business acumen extends to real estate, with luxury residences in London, Los Angeles, and Miami. Collaborating with property developers, he continues to initiate lucrative ventures, solidifying his status not just as a football icon, but as a shrewd entrepreneur in the global business arena.
4. Lionel Messi – $550 million
Considered the GOAT, Lionel Messi’s unparalleled skills on the field and a plethora of endorsements secure his position as the fourth on the list of the top 10 richest footballers in the world in 2024. With eigth Ballon d’Or awards and a World Cup, Messi’s illustrious career is adorned with titles and accolades.
Endorsement deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Huawei, Gillette, Tata Motors, and Mastercard contribute significantly to Messi’s wealth. His football contracts, notably the 2017 FC Barcelona deal surpassing $600 million and the 2022 Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) contract valued over $41 million annually, solidify him as one of the highest-paid athletes.
In 2022, Messi’s social media dominance soared as his first World Cup victory set a record for the most-liked post in history, with three of the top five most popular Instagram posts. Beyond the pitch, Messi’s influence extends into the digital realm, reinforcing his status as a global football icon.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo – $600 million
Cristiano Ronaldo, the third richest footballer globally, stands as the first team sports athlete to amass over $1 billion in career earnings, excluding taxes. His stellar career, spanning renowned clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus, earned him millions in salary and endorsements.
In 2016, Ronaldo inked a groundbreaking $1 billion lifetime deal with Nike, joining the elite ranks of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. Beyond mainstream leagues, his deal with Saudi club Al Nasr secures a historic $215 million annual salary, solidifying his status as the highest-paid athlete.
A marketing powerhouse, Ronaldo’s marketability is showcased through lucrative deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, and Tag Heuer. Diversifying his wealth, he invested in personal ventures like clothing lines, fragrances, and a hotel chain.
With over 600 million social media followers, Ronaldo’s influence extends to Instagram, where he commands $2.44 million per sponsored post, marking the highest earnings on the platform. Cristiano Ronaldo not only dominates on the field but also stands as a financial icon in the world of football.
2. Mathieu Flamini – $12.6 billion
Securing the title of the second-richest footballer globally, Mathieu Flamini’s financial success extends far beyond the football pitch. Known for his stints with clubs like Arsenal FC, AC Milan, and Marseille, Flamini embarked on an entrepreneurial journey in 2008.
In a groundbreaking move, Flamini co-founded GFBiochemicals with Pasquale Granata, pioneering the production of levulinic acid. This renewable chemical finds applications in pharmaceuticals, food, and cosmetics. GFBiochemicals, under Flamini’s leadership, stands as the world’s first mass manufacturer of levulinic acid, challenging the dominance of petrochemicals.
Beyond the realm of football, Flamini’s visionary venture showcases his commitment to sustainable innovation and reinforces his status as a global entrepreneur. Mathieu Flamini’s story exemplifies the transformative power of athletes venturing into groundbreaking sectors.
1. Faiq Bolkiah – $20 billion
Claiming the title of the richest footballer in history, Faiq Bolkiah’s staggering net worth, estimated at around $20 billion, sets him apart. As an heir to Brunei’s royal family, Faiq’s wealth stems from the nation’s vast oil reserves, securing his place as the wealthiest player to grace the football world.
Hailing from the affluent Bolkiah family, with his uncle, Hassanal Bolkiah, reigning as the Sultan of Brunei, Faiq enjoys unparalleled financial backing. Brunei, nestled in Southeast Asia’s Borneo, stands as one of the world’s richest nations per capita, courtesy of its vast oil wealth.
Faiq Bolkiah’s journey in professional football is underlined by the unique intersection of royal affluence and sporting prowess. Leveraging his family’s opulent resources, Faiq not only pursued a career in football but etched his name as the richest footballer globally.
The Bolkiah family’s penchant for luxury and real estate adds a distinctive flair to Faiq’s narrative, where regal heritage meets the world’s most popular sport.
Is Messi richer than Ronaldo?
Cristiano Ronaldo outshines Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, securing the pinnacle of Forbes’ 2023 rich list. He also boasts of several businesses, including the CR7 perfume and clothing brand.
Richest Footballers in World (Summary)
The list of the top 10 richest footballers showcases a diverse range of athletes who have amassed significant wealth through various avenues, including lucrative playing contracts, endorsement deals, and successful business ventures.
Here’s a quick summary of the richest footballers in the world in 2024 once again:
- Faiq Bolkiah – $20 billion
- Mathieu Flamini – $12.6 billion
- Cristiano Ronaldo – $600 million
- Lionel Messi – $550 million
- David Beckham – $400 million
- Dave Whelan – $210 million
- Neymar – $200 million
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic – $190 million
- Ronaldo Nazário – $160 million
- Alexandre Pato – $145 million
From legendary players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have dominated the footballing scene on and off the pitch, to unique cases like Faiq Bolkiah, whose wealth stems from a royal family’s fortune, these footballers exemplify financial success beyond the confines of the field.
The blend of sporting prowess, strategic investments, and entrepreneurial ventures underscores the multifaceted nature of their financial achievements, making them not just icons in football but also astute individuals in the realm of wealth accumulation.