Football is one of the most followed sports across the globe and the players are not less than any superstars. The players have become global icons because of this sport as they have millions of fan-following on social media nowadays. Considering the popularity and reach of the sport, there is a lot of money involved in it. Hence, the biggest clubs in the world splash a huge sum of money to get the services of the best players in the world. From huge salaries to mega endorsement deals to business investments, the football players have now become the richest people across the globe. But, do you know who are the top five richest athletes of all time in the world of football? There are a couple of surprising names on this list.
- Neymar (Net Worth: $200 million)
The Brazilian winger is reportedly on a lucrative contract with PSG, earning around $78 million per year. Having associated with Nike for many years, Neymar's new deal with PUMA is worth more than $30 million per year. Along with some mega sponsorship deals with brands like Gillette, Beats Electronics and Red Bull, the 29-year-old is almost associated with every second product in Brazil. His move from Barcelona to PSG is still regarded as the most expensive football transfer in the world at a reported fee of around $263 million.
- Dave Whelan (Net Worth: $210 million)
The former English professional footballer played for clubs like Blackburn Rovers and Crewe Alexandra F.C during his career. However, it was his post-retirement business investments that brought his net worth to around $210 million. In 1977, Whelan acquired JJB and turned it into a successful sporting goods store which went on to become UK’s second-biggest retailer. In 1995, he also purchased the Wigan Athletic Football Club which later went on to create history by winning the FA Cup in 2013. The defender-turned-business tycoon is the fourth richest footballers of all time.
- Lionel Messi (Net Worth: $400 million)
The Barcelona superstar is the highest-paid athlete in world football right now, with an estimated salary of over $90 million at the Blaugrana. Lionel Messi has also reportedly signed a $12 million/year 'lifetime' contract with Adidas. The Argentine has also had some huge endorsement deals with brands like Lays, Gatorade, Pepsi, Budweiser, Mengniu, Orcam, Tata Motors, Gillette, Turkish Airlines, Mastercard, Hawkers, Huawei and many more. The 6-time Ballon d'Or winner has made some major investments in property, having put money into the Azahares del Parana project (a set of gated communities out of Rosario city) as well as an apartment building in the city centre.
- David Beckham (Net Worth: $450 million)
The former England footballer might have retired from professional football in 2013 but he still has a net worth of around $450 million. Co-owner of football clubs Inter Miami CF and Salford City, Beckham has also had some mega-endorsement deals with brands like Tudor watches, Haig Club whisky, Breitling, Sainsbury's, Armani, Gillette, AIA Group and Pepsi Co. The 46-year-old has played for some of the biggest clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and PSG in his 20-year-long career. He has also signed a 3-year contract with EA Sports where he will appear as a footballer in the famous game and will earn over $50 million.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Net Worth: $500 million)
The Portuguese captain is the richest athlete of all time in the world of football with a net worth of around $500 million. The Juventus forward has played for clubs like Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United and Real Madrid in past and has won 4 Ballon d'Or Awards in his career. While he has a current salary of over $60 million a year at Juventus, most of the earnings of CR7 are from his lucrative endorsement deals. It includes a lifetime deal with Nike, which sees him earn over $20 million every year. Ronaldo has also had some million-dollar endorsement deals with the likes of Armani, Tag Heuer, Clear, PokerStars, Egyptian Steel, Herbalife, Italia Independent and Castrol.