With over 250 million players worldwide, football is the most popular sport on the planet. Over 200 countries participate in structured games and leagues from youth tryouts to A-List major clubs. The players that stand out, the superstars of the game, are true celebrities in their own right, idolized by countless young lads hoping to achieve the same lofty goals. Being a skillful asset to a team is rewarded with dazzling contracts, endorsement deals with some of the biggest corporations in the world and opportunities to expand their own fame. Follow along as we count down ten of the most valuable players in international football both on and off the field.
10. Yaya Toure – Manchester City: Worth $20 Million
Yaya Toure is the ultimate super athlete. The infielder has had nothing but success on the team, scoring goals when they are most needed and filling in on defense when called upon. He was an instrumental addition to the club and managed to lead the team to their first league title in 44 years. Yaya takes home over $20 million USD per year.
9. Mesut Ozil – Arsenal: Worth $42.4 Million
Mesut Ozil made his name with Real Madrid but came up a big winner when he signed on with the Arsenal organization. At 24-years-old the talented player was offered an amazing contract worth approximately $42.4 million USD. As if that wasn’t enough to keep him happy for many years, the young superstar also signed an endorsement deal with Adidas sportswear. He designed his own logo, a letter O with the German umlaut on the inside. Happier days cannot be conceived.
8. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City: Worth $61 Million
Manchester City paid a whooping $61 million USD to acquire the world-renowned striker Sergio Aguero. His resume includes an amazing 101 goals over the course of 234 games played. His last-minute goal against Queens Park Rangers led to celebrations on streets as the club inched by their arch-rival Manchester United. Love him or hate him, one cannot argue that Sergio has earned every penny he is paid.
7. Wayne Rooney – Manchester United: Worth $67.5 Million
Wayne Rooney is a superstar among superstars in the world of professional football. The young Brit has broken many records throughout his career and he is nowhere near finished doing so. Not only is he a one of the best strikers in the world, his charismatic personality has led to lucrative endorsement deals with such big labels as Nike, Coca-Cola and Ford. His annual income is approximately $29 million USD and he has a net worth of about $67.5 million.
6. Neymar – Barcelona: Worth $78 Million
21-year-old Neymar made a name for himself playing for the Brazilian organization Santos. This year, he made a giant leap towards stardom by moving his gear to the Barcelona club and collecting approximately $78 million USD in the process. The potential for this young striker is enormous. He is quick to strike, deadly accurate and knows the ins and outs of this highly competitive sport.
5. Andres Iniesta – Barcelona: Worth $78 Million
Andres Iniesta is the golden boy of Spaniard football. He has been an integral part of the winning combination that has led the club and national teams to win six La Liga titles and three Championship League titles. He is a brilliant player with unsurpassed vision, intelligence, and technique. Andres’ net worth is approximately $78 million USD, though his current buyout clause has reached $206 million USD.
4. Radamel Falcao – Monaco: Worth $82 Million
Radamel Falcao has earned a deadly reputation on the field for being unerringly accurate when he strikes the ball. His ability to score goals led to Monaco offering the young, super athlete upwards of $82 million USD to play for their league. Falcao will only improve as the club grows around him and the initial investment should be paid back with trophies and accolades.
3. Lionel Messi – Barcelona: Worth $118 Million
Lionel Messi is arguably the best footballer the sport has ever seen. The Argentinian has managed to help his team win every conceivable trophy in the world of football since he began playing with the club. The 26-year-old mega-star has endorsement deals with big-name corporations throughout the world, including Coca-Cola and Adidas. He has been featured on the cover of the FIFA video game several times. His personal net worth is estimated at $118 million USD, but if he was to be bought out from the Barcelona club, prospective employers would be asked to shell out approximately $797 million USD to have him wear their jersey.
2. Gareth Bale – Real Madrid: Worth $138 Million
Welsh super-athlete Gareth Bale made a smart move over the summer, leaving behind the Tottenham club to move into the big leagues with power-house Real Madrid. Gareth scored big in the paycheck department with a $138 million USD contract, earning him about $487,000 a week. It is remarkable to watch him play and amazing to see him work of the court. He has been featured several times on editions of FIFA video games, and has also trademarked his heart-shape celebration and is ready to use it on his own clothing and brand-name merchandise. All those ventures and his sponsorship with Adidas make him not just a remarkable athlete but a remarkable man.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid: Worth $150 Million
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has achieved amazing statistics with his remarkable goal scoring feats. A regular of the highlight reel, Cristiano has broken numerous records over the years with both his former team, Manchester United and his current club, Real Madrid. He has an eye-popping record of 212 goals in 208 games under Real Madrid and endorsement contracts with such big players as Coca-Cola, Nike, and Motorola. His new clothing line is set to hit the shops in time for Christmas. It is also note-worthy that he is the first celebrity to reach 50 million followers on the social media site Facebook. His net worth has been estimated at over $150 million USD.
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