The world’s most popular sport football or soccer is much more serious than ever.
There are more than 3.5 billion football fans worldwide. For many of them, football is not just a game, it is like a religion. Top professional football players are earning more than other pro-athletes.
The wealthiest soccer players are all playing in Europe. Spain, England, Italy, Germany and France are ranked as being the greatest league on Earth.
All of them are competitive enough that they consistently capture the best talent. Premier League footballers earn an average of £2.3 million a year each, making it the best paying league in the world.
Here are the top 20 richest football players in the world, according to Goal.com 2015 rich list.
20) John Terry – Net Worth: €56 Million ($61 million)
English professional football player John Terry’s contribution to the English national team and Chelsea has been immense.
He is the captain of Chelsea. He was the captain of the English national team between August 2006 and February 2010.
19) Sergio Aguero – Net Worth: €58 Million ($63 million)
This Argentine professional footballer plays for the Argentina national team and Manchester City.
He scored what many people call the most famous goal in the history of the club on the final day of the 2012-13 campaign. That goal secured the title for Manchester City.
18) Gerard Pique – Net Worth: €58 Million ($63 million)
Gerard Pique is an immensely talented Spanish professional footballer who plays as a center-back for Spain national football team and FC Barcelona. This champion has hoisted club trophies worldwide.
He is one of the four players to have won the UEFA Champions League two years in a row with different teams.
17) Francesco Totti – Net Worth: €60 Million ($65.5 million)
Italian football player Francesco Totti is the captain of Serie A club Roma.
He has been with the club for the last 23 years and has created many wonderful moments for his fans. He is also into real estate business.
16) Franck Ribery – Net Worth: €61 Million ($66.5 million)
Franck Ribery is a French football player who plays for German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.
He is an athlete on par with the likes of Ronaldo and Messi.
15) Yaya Toure – Net Worth: €62 Million ($67.6 million)
This talented midfielder and the current African Player of the Year plays for the Ivory Coast national team and Manchester City. He is the on-field heart and soul of the club.
He was voted African footballer of the year for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He is one of Africa’s most successful players in Europe of all time.
14) Steven Gerrard – Net Worth: €64 Million ($70 million)
English football player Steven Gerrard’s honors include three League Cups, two FA Cups, one UEFA Cup, one UEFA Champions League and two UEFA Super Cups.
According to some people, he is the most respected player in all of the English Premier League.
13) Gigi Buffon – Net Worth: €66 Million ($72 million)
Italian goalkeeper Gigi Buffon is the captain of Serie A club Juventus and the Italy national team. He holds the record for most appearances for Italy and is considered to be one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
He is the most expensive goalkeeper of all time following his ₤32.6 million transfer from Parma to Juventus in 2001.
12) Rio Ferdinand – Net Worth: €72 Million ($78.5 million)
Rio Ferdinand is an English professional football player who plays as a center-back.
He is a free agent. He has wisely invested in real estate in London and in Caribbean. He also earns big through endorsements.
11) Bastian Schweinsteiger – Net Worth: €75 Million ($82 million)
This German football player plays for Bayern Munich and the German national team.
He is the captain of the German national team and vice-captain of Bayern Munich. He has earned more than 100 caps for Germany.
10) Frank Lampard – Net Worth: €80 Million ($87 million)
English professional football player Frank Lampard plays for Manchester City. He was with Chelsea for 13 years and is the club’s all-time leading goal scorer.
He is one of the best midfielders of his generation.
9) Ronaldinho – Net Worth: €83 ($90.5 million)
Brazilian legend Ronaldinho plays for Mexican club Queretaro. He won FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2004 and 2005.
He has played 97 matches and scored 33 goals.
8) Raul – Net Worth: €85 Million ($93 million)
Raul is a Spanish professional football player who plays as a striker for New York Cosmos. He was with Real Madrid for 16 years and is the club’s all-time top goal scorer with 323 goals.
7) Samuel Eto’o – Net Worth: €87 Million ($95 million)
This Cameroonian football player plays for Sampdoria as a striker. He is the most successful and decorated African footballer of all time. He has netted massive contracts throughout his career.
Eto’o was in fact once the highest-paid player in the world during his spell with Anzhi Makhachkala where he earned €20 million ($25 million) a year after taxes.
6) Kaka – Net Worth: €96 Million ($105 million)
Brazilian professional football player Kaka is an attacking midfielder, currently playing for American Major League Soccer club Orlando City. Kaka made most of his money while playing for Real Madrid.
He is the highest-paid soccer player ever in the United States with a guaranteed salary of $7.2 million per year.
5) Wayne Rooney – Net Worth: €103 Million ($112 million)
Wayne Rooney is a talented and famous English professional football player. He is the captain of the English national team and the Manchester United club.
He spent two seasons at the Merseyside club and moved to Manchester United for ₤25.6 million in 2004.
He also earns by endorsing reputed brands like Chevrolet.
4) Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Net Worth: €105 Million ($114 million)
This Swedish professional football player is an internet sensation. He is the captain of the Swedish national team. He also plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain.
In 2006 he completed a €24.8 million move to Internazionale by signing a four-year deal.
3) Neymar – Net Worth: €135 Million ($148 million)
Neymar is the captain of the Brazil national team. He plays for Spanish club FC Barcelona. He has scored 43 goals in 62 matches for Brazil.
SportsPro named him the most marketable athlete in the world in the years 2012 and 2013. In 2014 alone he earned $33.6 million, according to Forbes.
His move to Barca was worth €57.1 million making it the 15th most expensive football transfer of all time. The striker will make $74 million in salary over five years; $13 million of which is a signing bonus.
2) Lionel Messi – Net Worth: €200 Million ($218 million)
Lionel Messi is a true football legend. It is a pleasure to watch him play the game. This Argentine football player plays for Argentina national team and FC Barcelona.
He is the first football player in history to win four FIFA/Ballons d’Or. As per Forbes’ 2014 list, Messi earned a total of $65 million within 12 months. He is one of football’s biggest endorsers of all-time.
1) Cristiano Ronaldo – Net Worth: €210 Million ($230 million)
Ronaldo’s Real Madrid contract earns him more than €18 million per year. In 2014 he featured on Forbes list with total earnings of $80 million, which he made between 2013- 14.
He is the captain of the Portugal national team. He became the most expensive player in the world when he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009 in a transfer worth €94 million.
He also makes money by endorsing famous brands like Motorola, Tag Heuer and Nike.