Aside from being incredibly effective on the pitch, the world’s best footballers are also incredibly marketable for brands.
Subsequently, the highest-profile players are able to earn huge sums of money, on top of their already eye-watering wages, through sponsorship deals.
But who are the top 10 footballers with the most lucrative boot deals right now?
The Sun have published a list following Neymar’s recent record-breaking contract with Puma.
The Brazilian now has football’s biggest boot deal, but which other players also make the list? Let’s take a closer look…
10. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool | £2.5 million
Mohamed Salah, nicknamed ‘The Egyptian King’, is one of the most popular - and marketable - footballers in the world.
Liverpool’s prolific forward is sponsored by Adidas and pockets a cool £2.5 million a year for wearing the company’s X18 football boots.
9. Marco Verratti, PSG | £2.5 million
A somewhat surprising entry at number nine, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti also earns £2.5 million a year from his deal with Nike.
We say surprising because, at first glance, the Italy international doesn’t appear to have the same marketability as other players on this list.
Verratti was previously part of Puma’s stable but he left for Nike in 2017, signing a reported 10-year deal for the sportswear giant.
8. Paul Pogba: Man Utd | £3 million
Paul Pogba might divide the opinion of football fans but there’s no denying the French World Cup winner is extremely marketable.
Adidas pay the midfielder £3 million every year to wear their latest Predator boots. His 10-year deal, which expires in 2024, is understood to be worth a hefty £30 million.
7. Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona | £3.5 million
Puma’s decision to tie Antoine Griezmann to a new long-term deal in 2015 proved a very smart decision.
The forward went on to become a global star with Atletico Madrid, before winning the World Cup with France and sealing a £108 million move to Barcelona in 2019.
Puma released a limited edition Future 4.1 NETFIT Grizi (priced at £229) to celebrate his 10-year anniversary with the company.
6. Gareth Bale, Tottenham | £4 million
Now back at Tottenham, on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, Gareth Bale earns a reported £600,000 a week in wages alone.
On top of that, Adidas pay the Welshman £4 million per annum to wear their boots.
They’ll be hoping Bale can rediscover his form and confidence with Spurs over the coming months.
5. Mario Balotelli, Brescia | £5 million
Puma presumably thought they’d hit gold when they signed Mario Balotelli up to a 10-year deal in 2014 after the striker parted company with Nike.
Unfortunately, Balotelli’s reputation in football has nose-dived in recent seasons. He is no longer regarded as one of the most talented forwards in Europe.
Now with Serie B side Brescia, Balotelli still has four years left to run on his £5 million-a-year deal.
4. Kylian Mbappe, PSG | £14 million
Next we have Kylian Mbappe - and we see a huge jump to £14 million a year.
That’s the figure Paris Saint-Germain’s world-class French forward earns thanks to a 10-year contract, worth a total of £140 million, with Nike.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus | £15 million
But Cristiano Ronaldo is still Nike’s top earner for the time being, pocketing a lucrative £15 million ever year.
A lifetime deal with Nike - he’s only the third athlete to sign such a deal, along with Michael Jordan and LeBron James - will see him earn a reported £780 million in total. Wow.
2. Lionel Messi, Barcelona | £18 million
Arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi also has a lifetime deal with sponsors, Adidas, which he signed in 2017.
The legendary Argentine forward, who has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award a record six times, was the first footballer to release a sub-brand of Adidas boots: the Adidas Messi.
1. Neymar, PSG | £23 million
However, it’s Neymar who now sits top of the tree after putting pen to paper on an astronomical £23 million a year deal with Puma after leaving Nike.
This is the largest individual sports sponsorship contract in history.
Puma will be hoping that Neymar, arguably the most skillful footballer on the planet right now, can emerge as the world’s best player once Messi and Ronaldo finally begin to decline.
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