The World’s 2011 Highest Paid Football Players

Hi everyone,
According to The Richest, the world’s highest paid players are as below. Most interesting key learning here: David Beckham is (still) number one. Despite the fact that he is playing in the MLS where there is a salary cap, his sponsorship deals make the difference.

#1 David Beckham


Net worth: £135 million (according to 2011 Sunday Times Rich List)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $40 million

Beckham endorsement deals with adidas is the biggest in the sport thanks to royalties from apparel and footwear collections.

#2 Cristiano Ronaldo


Net worth: $160 million (estimated)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $38 million

Ronaldo is Facebook’s most popular athlete with 24 million fans which is part of the attraction for sponsors such as Nike, Armani, Coca-Cola. He is also the Castrol ambassador.

#3 Lionel Messi


Net worth: $110 million (estimated)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $32 million

Messi is the world’s best player and has meaningful sponsorship deals with adidas, Konami, Lay’s to name a few.

#4 Kakà


Net worth: $110 million (estimated)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $25 million

Although he did not play much for Real this season, he was the star player of the FIFA10 video game, and has a sponsorship deal with adidas.

#5 Ronaldinho

Net worth: $90million (estimated)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $24 million

Yep, he is still there! The Flamengo player is ranked 5th. Still a Nike athlete, Ronnie benefits from interesting endorsement deals.

#6 Thierry Henry


Net worth: $60 million (estimated)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $21 million

Second MLS player in the top 10. Although his sponsorship deal with Gillette finished at the end of 2010, Thierry Henry remains in the top ten with $21 million earnings this year.

#7 Wayne Rooney

Net worth: £37million (according to the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $20 million

His “strike” at the beginning of the season triggered a significant salary increase to $1 million annually. He is Nike icon.

#8 (tie) Frank Lampard


Net worth: £37million (according to the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $17 million

In partnership with adidas, Frank Lampard significantly increased his earnings compared to the previous year.

#9 (tie) Zlatan Imbrahimovic

Net worth: $60 million (according to the 2011 Sunday Times Rich List)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $17million

Barca paid a $94 million fee to Inter Milan in 2009 for the rights to Ibrahimovic, which was the second transfer fee ever.

#10 Samuel Eto’o

Net worth: $40 million (estimated)
May 2010 to May 2011 earnings: $15million

Football icon of the sports lifestyle brand Puma, the Cameroonian counts Ford among his partnerships.

A couple of key learnings

1. Two MLS players in the top ten. Although the salary cap in the MLS, David Beckham is at the top of the list. Unexpected?
2. Only one FC Barcelona player in the list. Should Xavi and Iniesta go on “Rooney strike”?
3. No defender, no Goalkeeper in the list……hmmm worthless?

What do you think?

Karl Lusbec

[Sources: Forbes.com, The Richest]

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9 thoughts on “The World’s 2011 Highest Paid Football Players

  1. Messi should be the highest paid football,money cannot buy what that guy has he is a “geanus”,man city should go for him…,if only my team Arsenal could.

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  2. Hi Nathan,
    The list is based on the 2010-2011 season, hence Eto’o is ranked 10th. For the 2011-2012 season, the makhachkala player would be on the podium for sure.
    Drogba was not in the top 10 for 2011. Will publish as soon as I have the updated list.
    Cheers

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