Football, also known as soccer around the world, is one of the most popular sports globally. With the rise of the professional game, top footballers are earning more money than ever before through salaries, endorsements, and business ventures. Here is a breakdown of the top 10 richest footballers in 2023 based on their estimated net worth and sources of income.
10. Robert Lewandowski – Net Worth: $85 Million
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski tops the list as the richest footballer in the world in 2023 with an estimated net worth of $85 million. The 34-year-old enjoyed immense success with Bayern Munich, where he broke numerous goalscoring records. Lewandowski now plays for Barcelona, where he earns around $20 million annually. Off the pitch, he has endorsement deals with Nike, Huawei, and Ergo Arena. Lewandowski owns a chain of high-end restaurants called “Nine’s” across Poland and Germany. He launched his own clothing line in 2020 and has invested in tech startups over the years. Across over 15 seasons at Europe’s top clubs, Lewandowski has built a business portfolio to support his post-playing career.
9. Eden Hazard – Net Worth: $100 Million
Belgian winger Eden Hazard spent 7 successful seasons with Chelsea before moving to Real Madrid in 2019 for a reported $150 million transfer fee. The 31-year-old earns around $25 million per year in salary from Los Blancos. Hazard has endorsement deals with Nike, EA Sports, and Renault. He owns a chain of restaurants across Belgium and France called “Izan Hazard”. The footballer has also invested in real estate in London and Madrid. Hazard co-owns a Belgian second division football club with his brother. Despite injuries hampering his time in Spain, Hazard continues to build his business interests.
8. Andrés Iniesta – Net Worth: $120 Million
Widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, Andrés Iniesta spent over 20 years with Barcelona before moving to Japan. The 38-year-old currently plays for Vissel Kobe, where he earns a reported $30 million annual salary. During his time with Barcelona, Iniesta won 9 La Liga titles and 4 Champions Leagues. Off the pitch, he has endorsement deals with Asics, Head & Shoulders, and Konami. Iniesta owns a chain of wine bars and restaurants across Spain under the brand “BODEGA Iniesta”. He also co-owns a second division Spanish football club and invests in real estate ventures. Across his illustrious career, Iniesta has built a business empire to support his post-football life.
7. Paul Pogba – Net Worth: $125 Million
French midfielder Paul Pogba has enjoyed a successful career with Juventus and now back with Manchester United for a second spell. The 29-year-old earns around $30 million annually in salary from the Premier League giants. Pogba also has endorsement deals with Adidas, Volpi Foods, and Juice Plus. Off the pitch, he owns a chain of restaurants and nightclubs across Europe. Pogba has also invested in real estate in Miami and Paris. He launched his own record label in 2020 and regularly produces music himself. With his footballing prime still ahead, Pogba’s business empire is growing rapidly in parallel.
6. Gareth Bale – Net Worth: $145 Million
Welsh winger Gareth Bale spent the majority of his career with Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid, where he won 5 Champions League titles. During his time in Spain, Bale earned around $30 million per year in salary and bonuses. He currently plays back in the UK for Los Angeles FC on a reported $1.5 million per month contract. Off the pitch, Bale has invested heavily in property and golf courses in Wales and California. His business interests also include a stake in the new MLS franchise in Los Angeles. At 33, Bale is still playing at the highest level while growing his business and property portfolio.
5. Kylian Mbappé – Net Worth: $180 Million
Still only 24, French superstar Kylian Mbappé is already one of the richest footballers on the planet. He currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, where he earns a reported $110 million annual salary through 2025. Mbappé has broken numerous records as the youngest and fastest player to score certain goals for club and country. Off the pitch, he has major sponsorship deals with Nike, Hublot, Dior, and Oakley. Mbappé also owns a production company and has invested in startups in the technology and fashion industries. With his best years still ahead, Mbappé is on track to become the first billionaire footballer.
4. Neymar Jr. – Net Worth: $200 Million
Brazilian forward Neymar Jr. is one of the highest paid athletes in the world. After leaving Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record $263 million transfer, Neymar earns around $120 million per year in salary and bonuses. Off the pitch, he has endorsement deals with Puma, Red Bull, L’Oreal, and EA Sports. Neymar also owns a production company and invests in real estate in Brazil and Europe. At 30, he continues to dominate for club and country while growing his business interests outside of football. With over 150 million social media followers, Neymar earns millions annually from sponsored Instagram posts alone.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo – Net Worth: $500 Million
Widely considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo has amassed a net worth of $500 million through a lucrative playing career and countless endorsement deals. Currently playing for Manchester United, the Portuguese forward earns around $100 million per year in salaries and bonuses. Off the pitch, he has major sponsorship agreements with Nike, Herbalife, and Clear among others. Ronaldo also owns several high-end hotels and apartment complexes around the world. His social media following of over 500 million allows him to charge top dollar for sponsored Instagram posts. At 37, Ronaldo continues to dominate on the field while building an empire off it.
2. Lionel Messi – Net Worth: $600 Million
Messi has been Ronaldo’s biggest rival on the pitch for over a decade and also rivals him financially. The Argentine playmaker currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain, where he earns a reported $75 million annual salary. Over his career, the 7-time Ballon d’Or winner has earned over $800 million in salaries alone from Barcelona. Messi also has major sponsorship deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Budweiser, and Mastercard. Like Ronaldo, he is hugely popular on social media with nearly 400 million followers. Messi co-owns a production company and has invested in real estate across Europe. At 35, he is still playing at an elite level while growing his business empire.
1. Faiq Bolkiah – Net Worth: $20 Billion
Coming in at number 10 is Faiq Bolkiah, a midfielder from Brunei. With an estimated net worth of $20 billion, he is the richest footballer in the world by a massive margin. Bolkiah is a member of the Brunei royal family and his father is the Prince of Brunei, Jefri Bolkiah. As such, he inherited a large portion of the Brunei national wealth. While he has spent time in the youth academies of some top European clubs like Chelsea and Leicester City, he has never made a senior professional appearance. His wealth comes directly from his royal status and inheritance rather than footballing abilities and achievements.
The top footballers in the world have leveraged their on-field success and fame into business empires across various industries like real estate, fashion, restaurants, and technology. While salaries and endorsements make them rich during their playing careers, it is strategic long-term investments that have made these footballers billionaires after retirement from the beautiful game. Their stories show how professional athletes are now building brands beyond just their abilities on the pitch.