The 23rd season of the English Premier League is underway, causing a serious buzz among all sports fans in the UK and many soccer lovers abroad. In the EPL, long-standing, heated rivalries and – less common – traditional comraderies between teams makes this league one of the most talked-about in Britain. Manchester City came into the season as defending champions, but 19 other clubs are looking to take that title away. Chelsea and Swansea City are already off to a hot start, but the season has really just begun.
Many great players have left the league, such as Ashley Cole of the Italian club Roma, and many other greats have signed new contracts. Rio Ferdinand moved from Manchester United after 12 years to join Queens Park Rangers, and Frank Lampard left Chelsea after 13 years to join New York City FC and Manchester City. Despite a few changes, the intensity and passion for the EPL remains just as powerful as ever for millions of screaming fans.
Being the most-watched football league in the world – with a potential TV audience of 4.7 billion people – it’s no wonder that the players in the Premier League make huge amounts of money. A combination of high-level endorsements, sponsorships, and huge salaries makes many of these players some of the wealthiest sportsmen in the world. Here, we’ve taken a look at just how much money there is to be made, with a list of the 10 wealthiest English-born EPL footballers in the world.
10. James Milner – $9 million
Although James Milner has only played 15 minutes in the Premier League this season at the time of writing, we’re pretty sure he’s not too bent out of shape. The 28-year-old midfielder for Manchester City is worth an estimated $9 million. He began his professional career playing for his native club in 2002, Leeds United. He also played for Newcastle United and Aston Villa before being signed in August 2010 to Manchester City, who gave him a huge five-year, $40 million contract worth about $165,000 a week. The midfielder has earned almost $25 million during his professional career, and he also has an endorsement deal with Nike.
9. Ashley Young – $9 million
Tied with James Milner at $9 million is the Manchester United winger Ashley Young. His father was Jamaican-born and his mother was English. The 29-year-old winger from Hertfordshire played for Watford – debuting professionally in 2003 – and Aston Villa, before signing with Manchester United in 2011 on a $9.88 million-a-year contract – double what he was making at Villa. Since 2007, Young has earned 28 caps on the English national team and has scored 7 goals. According to some opposing players and fans, Ashley Young could have had a great career as an actor or ballet dancer if he’d wanted, but luckily for British soccer fans, he stuck with EPL football.
8. Michael Carrick – $16.5 million
English-born Michael Carrick has made an astounding 369 Premier League appearances and played in 59 UEFA Champions League games as of January 2013. He primarily plays as a center midfielder, and has played in 245 games alone for Manchester United since 2006. Carrick began his professional career playing for West Ham United from 1999 to 2004, and he was also loaned to Swindon Town and Birmingham City during this time. He played for Tottenham Hotspur from 2004 to 2006, before being picked up by Manchester United for a fee of almost $31 million. He earns $132,000 a week and has an endorsement deal with Puma, and he also played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups.
7. Joe Cole – $27 million
Joe Cole began playing for Aston Villa in 2014, as a midfielder. He began his career in 1998, playing for West Ham United, until he moved on to play for Chelsea from 2003 until 2010. He won a number of trophies with Chelsea, including two FA Cups and three Premier League titles. He signed with Liverpool in 2010 for three years, and then went back to West Ham United from 2013 to 2014, until signing with Aston Villa. He earns almost $8 million a year ($148,000 per week), and has an Adidas boots sponsorship deal. His company, Joe Cole Promotions, rose in assets from $297,000 to $972,000 in 2010 to 2011.
6. Ashley Cole – $35 million
Although he now plays for the Italian club Roma, Ashley Cole gets a spot on this list after playing in the EPL for 16 years. Cole is considered by many sports critics and fellow players as one of the best defenders of his generation. He began his professional career playing for Arsenal in 1998, and then he was transferred to Chelsea in 2006 for $8.2 million plus defender William Gallas. Cole has won two Premier League titles and three FA cups. His contract with Chelsea earned him $180,000 a week, and he also owns the company Kenzie Promotions, worth over $2 million.
5. John Terry – $39 million
John Terry earns $260,000 a week as center back and captain of Chelsea. He’s played with the team since 1998, making 424 appearances. He was also the captain of the England national team from 2006 until 2010, and again from March 2011 to February 2012. Terry has earned many accolades and is considered one of the best central defenders of his generation. He was the UEFA Club Defender of the Year in 2005, 2008, and 2009, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005, and was in the FIFPro World XI for five consecutive seasons, from 2005 to 2009.
He was the only English player to make the all-star squad team for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Terry is Chelsea’s all-time highest scoring defender, and their most successful captain, leading them to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups, and a UEFA Champions League since 2004.
4. Frank Lampard – $45 million
Frank Lampard is an attacking midfielder for Manchester City on loan from New York City FC. From 2001 to 2014 he played in 424 games for Chelsea and is their all-time leading goal scorer. He has been described by long-time teammate John Terry as Chelsea’s greatest player ever, and he is widely considered by journalists and experts to be one of the best midfielders of his generation. His 2008 contract made him the highest paid footballer at the time, and endorsement deals with Adidas and Pepsi boosted his annual earning to $17.7 million in 2012. Lampard is the first midfielder to ever score 150 Premier League goals.
3. Steven Gerrard – $60 million
Steven Gerrard is the central midfielder and captain of Liverpool. He’s played for the team for his entire professional career – beginning in 1998 – and has made 478 appearances. He earns $230,000 a week as Liverpool’s captain, and makes about $14.8 million a year. His endorsements with Adidas, Jaguar, and energy drinks company Lucozade earned him $4.5 million in 2013 alone. His company, Steven Gerrard Promotions, increased in assets in 2010 to 2011 from $6.10 million to $6.58 million. Gerrard has won two FA Cups, three League Cups, a UEFA Cup, and the Champions League in 2005, and is the only footballer ever to have scored a goal in an FA Cup Final, a League Cup Final, a UEFA Cup Final, and a Champions League Final.
2. Rio Ferdinand – $75 million
Rio Ferdinand was transferred from Leeds United to Manchester United in 2002 for around $50 million, breaking the transfer fee record. played center back for Manchester United from 2002 until 2014, who he joined for around $50 million. He signed with the Queens Park Rangers, and this season is his EPL debut with the team.
Besides football, Ferdinand has many other money-making interests. He was hired by Mars to promote their Snickers bar via Twitter, where he has 2.5 million followers. He has extensive property in London, Cheshire, and Morocco, and has a sponsorship deal with Nike. He expanded his wealth in music, television, and film, co-founding the record label Chalk Music, and serving as executive producer of Alex de Rakoff’s 2009 film, Dead Man Running. Ferdinand’s wealth grew from $6.5 million in 2011 to $65 million in 2012.
1. Wayne Rooney – $125 million
Wayne Rooney began his professional career in 2002 at the age of 16, playing for Everton. He moved to Manchester United in the summer of 2004 for $42 million, and he now captains that team and England’s national team as a forward striker. According to a 2012 report, Rooney earns $32.6 million a year and is the fifth highest football player in the world and number one in England. He is widely regarded as the country’s best player, and he participated in the 2006, 2010, and 2014 World Cups. His endorsements include Nike, Electronic Arts, Nokia, Harper Collins, Ford, and Coca Cola.