Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar: What is the best-paid XI in world football?


Wages in football have spiralled out of control.

Recently, a report claimed that Mino Raiola intended to make Erling Haaland the first £1 million-per-week player.

One million pounds every single week for playing football. Crazy.

There’s an argument to be had that nobody deserves to be paid that sort of money.

No matter how good you are at football, how can you justify being paid that much?

However, if you’re producing incredible performances every single week and winning trophies for your side it’s at least understandable to be paid a lot of money.


But what about those players who are among the best-paid in the world but aren’t among the best players in the world?

Well, that’s something Marca looked at this week.

They identified the best-paid XI in world football and compared it to the actual best XI in world football.

To discover the greatest XI, Marca conducted a vote on the best player in every position - which received more than 500,000 votes and formed a starting line-up of players.

So first, let’s take a look at the best-paid XI and how much they receive in wages every year.

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Who's this cheeky chappy?

The best-paid XI

Goalkeeper - David de Gea (€15 million)

Defender - Sergio Ramos (€12 million)
Defender - Virgil van Dijk (€9 million)
Defender - Gerard Pique (€8.5 million)

Midfielder - Paul Pogba (€15 million)
Midfielder - Kevin De Bruyne (19 million)

Attacking midfield - Antoine Griezmann (€20 million)
Attacking midfield - Lionel Messi (€76 million)

Winger - Gareth Bale (€23 million)
Winger - Neymar (€30 million)

Striker - Cristiano Ronaldo (€31 million)


So, De Gea is the best-paid goalkeeper despite not even being Manchester United’s No.1 at the moment.

Ramos, Van Dijk and Pique are three of the best centre-backs around and their status at their respective clubs demands huge wages.

Two Manchester-based players are in midfield. De Bruyne is arguably the best midfielder in the world so his inclusion is fair. Pogba isn’t always worth the €15m every year but, on his day, he earns his corn.

Messi is by far the best-paid and his legacy at Barcelona means he pockets a ridiculous amount. He’s still worth every penny. But the club may want a bit more return from Griezmann, who gets €20 million every year.

Real Madrid and Tottenham are currently sharing Bale’s astronomical wages but it’s fair to say he’s not deserving of that salary right now. Meanwhile, if Neymar can lead Paris Saint-Germain to Champions League glory then his €30 million is justified.

36-year-old Ronaldo is still earning a cool €31 million - and is scoring the goals to warrant that too.


The best XI

Goalkeeper - Jan Oblak (€10 million)

Defender - Trent Alexander-Arnold (€2.5 million)
Defender - Sergio Ramos (€12 million)
Defender - Virgil van Dijo (€9 million)
Defender - Alphonso Davies (€5 million)

Midfielder - Kevin De Bruyne (€19 million)
Midfielder - Luka Modric (€10 million)

Attacking midfield - Lionel Messi (€76 million)

Winger - Neymar (€30 million)
Winger - Kylian Mbappe (€20 million)

Striker - Erling Haaland (€4.5 million)


Replacing De Gea in goal is Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak - who is paid €5 million less than the Spaniard.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is the least paid player in this XI, picking up just €2.5 million per year at Liverpool. His teammate, Van Dijk, and Ramos are in both the best-paid and this best XI. Alphonso Davies (€5 million) completes the back-four.

De Bruyne also makes this XI but Pogba is replaced by Luka Modric, who earns €5 million less than the United midfielder.

Messi and Neymar clearly earn their money as they make this XI, joined by wonderkids Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland - who aren’t quite old enough to command Messi-like wages. It won’t be long, though…

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