In Spain, football is like a religion. Some historians actually claim that the game of football originated in Spain a long time ago. Although this is unconfirmed (conflicting accounts claim Belgium, France, Denmark, or Sweden as football's birthplace) there’s no doubt that Spain is home to some of the world’s greatest soccer action. Spanish soccer fans are among the most dedicated and fervent in the whole of Europe.
Every town in the country has a football pitch and team, and it is often said that Spanish kids begin to play football as soon as they learn to walk. It is therefore not uncommon for budding talents to be picked up from around Spain by major clubs for specialized training from an early age.
Not surprisingly, Spaniards are among the biggest names in the world’s highest paying and most famous football clubs: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Chelsea FC, all boast top-notch Spanish stars.
Going in to the 2013 FIFA World Cup, the Spanish national team is ranked among the best in the world. It is therefore no surprise that it has produced a number of world-class talents in the last twenty to thirty years - players who also command a hefty salary.
For this list, players were judged on the level of salary they receive, known property owned, and past achievements. In ascending order, here is the list of the 10 richest Spanish players in the game today.
10 Carles Puyol (>$1 million)
Carles Puyol has a knack for scoring important goals for his football club. He is tall, sturdy, fast, and strong, and is well-known for his impressive ability to play it safe and sound with the midfielders. Since joining his current team, Puyol's wealth has grown exponentially. Although scant details are available about his investments and property, reports say Puyol takes home an annual income of close to $1 million per year.
9 Pepe Reina (>$9 million)
Age 31, the towering goalkeeper has a net worth of close to $9 million. Pepe Reina began his successful football career when he made his La Liga debut back in 2000. He joined Villarreal two years later. The height of his career came when he joined Liverpool in 2005, where he remains the first-string goalkeeper. He signed a lucrative $11,0000 per week contract back in 2010 that will keep him with the Anfield-based team until 2016. According to the Sunday Times U.K Richmen List, the 30 year old Spaniard has a boot endorsement deal with Joma.
8 Andres Iniesta (>$15 million)
The renowned Spanish central midfielder Andres Iniesta has long lived in the shadow of some of his team mates, but has commanded recognition of his own thanks to his brilliance on the pitch. Sources close to him say he is very humble and rarely shows off his wealth to the public. His quiet approach has only endeared him to a support that levels in watching him on a weekly basis. The supremely talented midfielder capped a glorious rise by smashing home the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup finals. The 29 year old takes home close to $2 million in endorsement earnings every year, and is estimated to earn $15 million per year.
7 Iker Casillas (>$20 million)
2013 has been a tough year for 32 year old Iker Casillas, but at least he has millions of dollars to ease the pain. Apart from football earnings, Casillas boasts smart stock investments, lucrative endorsements with CoverGirl Cosmetics and substantial property holdings. Conservative estimates put his accumulated earnings at close to $20 million. Some sport analysts, however, think that Casillas is worth much more than this.
6 Xavi Hernandez ($30 million)
The Spanish midfield maestro Xavi Hernandez is one of the best paid footballers of our time. He has been in top form for the better part of his career, and has won most everything that has come his way. Born in 1980 in Teresa, Spain, Xavi got his first chance to play in the Barcelona main squad at just 18. Over 15 years down the line, he has played a total of 409 matches with the Catalans and scored 48 goals. He is currently earning about $160,000 per week and has an estimated net worth of $30 million.
5 Fernado Torres ($40 million)
The ever-energetic Chelsea striker has been playing football since he was five. The 6 foot tall, Fuenlabrada-born Fernando Torres is best known for his perseverance through countless matches over the years. His consistency paid off when he participated in UEFA Euro Cup (2004), FIFA World Cup (2006) and UEFA Euro (2008). It is believed that Torres built his current worth by participating in these three international tournaments. Torres earns $22 million annually.
4 Juan Mata ($48 million)
The 25 year old Juan Mata was recently listed among the top 10 highest-paid footballers for 2013, with an estimated $48 million in combined earnings. Juan joined Chelsea two years ago for an estimated fee of $31 million. He has since created over 50 goals and scored 39. During this short period, he has managed to win the Europa League, FA Cup and Champions League. He is also a stock investor and entrepreneur.
3 David Villa ($50 million)
2 Raul Gonzales ($60 million)
Legendary 36 year old striker Raul Gonzales has been a UEFA champion’s league winner three times and has over 60 goals to his record. Gonzalez started his football career with San Cristobal de Los Angeles football club before moving to Atletico Madrid, and much later, Real Madrid. He now plays for Qatari side Al Sadd after a spell with Bundesliga’s Schalke. Raul owns a mansion on Paseo Conde de Los Gaitanes Road in the heart of Madrid.
1 1.Sergio Ramos ($60 million)
Born in Camas, Spain, Sergio Ramos made his La Liga debut in 2004. He joined Real Madrid in 2005 and has taken the last nine years to establish himself as an excellent defender with amazing goal scoring ability. According to a Madrid-based source, Ramos owns a house in the La Moraleja area. It is said that Ramos bought this prime property from Brazil’s Ronaldo Luis Mazario, who bought it on his arrival to Madrid back in 2002. He has another home in La Roja, where his neighbors include Pepe Reina, Sergio Aguero, and Fernando Torres. Sergio Ramos reportedly takes home an annual salary of $6 million, and has an estimated net worth of $60 M.