Counting down the 13 most overpaid players in world football

  • Rob Swan

The amount of money floating around in football right now is at best extraordinary, and at worst obscene.

When Trevor Francis became the first British player to break the £1 million mark back in 1979, football fans said the game was gone. Almost 40 years later and certain players are *earning* £1 million in less than a month.

It takes Neymar less than two weeks to earn £1 million. Paris Saint-Germain are currently paying the Brazilian forward an eye-watering £775,477 every week, according to BBC Sport, making him the world’s highest-paid footballer.

Nobody needs that amount of money - nobody - although PSG would argue that his quality and marketability makes him worth the huge outlay.

Players like Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo all receive ridiculously large pay cheques every week but they justify their wages with match-winning performances.

However, there are other footballers around the world who are currently earning an absolute fortune each week but are failing to deliver consistently on the pitch.

Others deliver from time to time but are still being paid more money than they deserve.

With this in mind, we’ve decided to rank the world’s 13 highest paid footballers - in order.

13. Romelu Lukaku | 250,000 pounds a week

We don’t want to kick a man too badly while he’s down, so we’ll put Romelu Lukaku in last place on this list of the world’s highest paid footballers.

The Belgian striker is currently enduring a difficult second season at Manchester United, with just four goals to show for his first 13 appearances of the 2018-19 campaign.

On his day, Lukaku is a colossus. However, those days are few and far between while his goalscoring record against the Premier League’s best clubs leaves a lot to be desired.

Does he deserve a quarter-of-a-million pounds every week? Not for us.

Manchester United v Sevilla FC  - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

12. Mesut Ozil | 300,000 pounds a week

Before you get your pitchforks out, Arsenal fans, hear us out. We’re not saying anything about Mesut Ozil’s ability or quality, which is clear for everyone to see.

However, there’s no getting away from the fact that Ozil goes missing in too many games - especially big games - to justify his £300,000-a-week wages.

If he’d produced the goods week-in, week-out since joining from Real Madrid in 2013, then fair enough. But £300k-a-week for an attacking midfielder who blows hot and cold is excessive.


11. Paul Pogba | 290,000 pounds a week

Without wanting to sound too much like Graeme Souness, Paul Pogba’s performances for Manchester United do not justify his £290,000-a-week wages.

The Frenchman, who helped his country win the World Cup in Russia, is a fabulously talented midfielder.

But - and this is a big ‘but’ - he only performs when he fancies it. He’s not turned up or has made sloppy mistakes in so many matches since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus two years ago.

A weekly wage in the region of £150,000-£200,000 would be a fairer reflection of what he brings to Man Utd.

Manchester United v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Group H

10. Hulk | 320,000 pounds a week

Much-maligned throughout his career, Hulk is actually a pretty decent forward who has scored goals consistently wherever he’s played, contrary to popular belief.

He netted 77 goals in 170 games for FC Porto and then scored the same number of goals in 148 games for Zenit.

But in 2016 he received an offer he couldn’t refuse from Chinese outfit Shanghai SIPG, who lured the Brazil international with a deal worth £320,000-a-week.

Hulk has scored 46 goals in 82 games for China. Decent stats, yes, but not enough to justify his exorbitant wages.


9. Alexis Sanchez | 391,000 pounds a week

Manchester United may not have paid Arsenal a transfer fee for Alexis Sanchez, but the deal to sign the Chile international in January 2018 still cost them huge money in terms of his wages.

According to the Daily Mail, Sanchez currently earns an astronomical £391,000-a-week at Old Trafford, plus an additional £75,000 for every start he makes. Oh, and he was also handed a £6.7 million signing-on fee.

Offering such a large contract to a 29-year-old who has played so much football during his career was madness anyway, but the fact he’s been so poor for United makes the deal look like one of the worst of the Premier League era.

United must wish they’d kept the receipt.


8. Cesc Fabregas | 220,000 pounds a week

Now in the autumn of his career, Cesc Fabregas must wake up every day and wonder how on earth he’s still earning over £200k every week.

The Spanish forward used to be one of Europe’s best midfielders, but those days have sadly passed.

Fabregas has struggled for game time under Maurizio Sarri this season but is still pocketing a king’s ransom.


7. Alex Pritchard | 110,000 pounds a week

No, your eyes are not deceiving you: Huddersfield Town’s Alex Pritchard really is earning £110,000-a-week.

This was revealed by the Mirror, who were listing the highest-paid players at all 20 Premier League clubs, earlier this month.

Pritchard, a former England Under-21 international, has scored one goal in 19 appearances for the Terriers since arriving from Norwich City earlier this year.

We’re not bitter, Alex, just very jealous.

Huddersfield Town v West Ham United - Premier League

6. Ezequiel Lavezzi | 290,000 pounds a week

Ezequiel Lavezzi is a good player, but his £290,000-a-week wages are laughable.

Hebei China Fortune brought the former Argentina international to China from Paris Saint-Germain in 2016 and he’s repaid them by scoring a reasonably impressive 30 goals in 57 games.

The fact is, though, that he wouldn’t be earning half his current wages if he wasn’t playing in China.


5. Alex Teixeira | 150,000 pounds a week

Strongly linked with a move to Liverpool back in 2016, Alex Teixeira instead opted to leave Shakhtar Donetsk for Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning.

This led to accusations of money-grabbing on the South American’s part - and his decision to move to China has certainly hindered his career.

Teixeira, who turns 29 in January, is still yet to earn his first cap for Brazil and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

He’s been alright in China, scoring 42 games in 97 appearances, but hasn’t exactly set the league alight. In fact, his club were lucky to avoid relegation in 2017.

When Teixeira looks back at what he could have achieved by staying in Europe, hopefully the sight of his bank balance will comfort him.

AFC Champions League - Jiangsu FC v Adelaide

4. Graziano Pelle | 290,000 pounds a week

Scoring two goals at Euro 2016 was the best thing that could have happened for Graziano Pelle’s retirement pot.

The Italian forward, who was with Southampton at the time, was offered a monstrous contract after catching the eye of Chinese side Shandong Luneng.

He leapt at the opportunity, of course, but has only managed to score 22 goals in 63 games over in China.

For almost £300k-a-week, that’s pretty poor.


3. Jackson Martinez | 210,000 pounds a week

Prolific at Porto, Jackson Martinez’s career has taken a spectacular nose-dive since leaving the Estadio do Dragao in 2015.

The Colombian forward flopped hard during his one season with Atletico Madrid but, despite that, was still offered £210,000-a-week to join Guangzhou Evergrande in China.

Martinez went on to score a pitiful four goals for the Chinese Super League outfit in 16 appearances over the next three years, with his game time restricted due to various injury problems.

Earlier this year he was removed from the club’s Super League and Asian Champions League squads, leaving him rotting in the reserves.

He currently finds himself on loan at Portuguese side Portimonense but is still earning the big bucks thanks to his contract with his parent club.

Guangzhou Evergrande FC v Pohang Steelers - AFC Champions League

2. Christian Benteke | 120,000 pounds a week

Although he looked class during his debut season with Aston Villa during the 2012-13 campaign, it’s become abundantly clear since then that Christian Benteke is not a top striker.

He struggled badly at Liverpool, scoring 10 goals in 42 games with the Reds, but still manage to secure a big contract at Crystal Palace.

Benteke did reasonably well in his first season at Selhurst Park, netting 17 goals in all competitions, but last season was an unmitigated disaster for the Belgium international.

Benteke netted just three goals in 30 games last term and is yet to hit the back of the net this season.

One hundred and twenty thousand pounds a week. Wow.

Crystal Palace v Southampton FC - Premier League

1. Oscar | 400,000 pounds a week

Although Oscar recently broke the Chinese Super League record for most assists in a season (18), there’s no way that a player of his limited ability should be earning close to £400,000-a-week.

The Brazilian left Chelsea in December 2016, aged 25 and approaching the peak years of his career, in order to earn big in China - a decision which raised plenty of eyebrows at the time.

Oscar showed glimpses of brilliance at Stamford Bridge but was hardly the most consistent performer. He flattered to deceive in a lot of matches.

If he was earning £200,000-a-week, it would still be too much.

The fact he’s the fourth highest-paid player in world football behind Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo is, quite frankly, comical.

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