Messi, Ronaldo, Bale: Who are the highest paid players in world football?

Lionel Messi playing for Barcelona

It's no secret that footballers are some of the most highly paid individuals on the planet. 

As one of the most universally popular sports, football has attracted a wave of billionaire investors into the game in the past thirty years, making it one of the most extravagant commercial products in existence. 

The rise in TV and advertising revenue, particularly since England's first tier was rebranded to become the Premier League in 1992, has helped put more money into player's pockets. 

A £100,000-per-week salary would have been reserved for the most elite players shortly after the turn of the millennium. Now, it's a typical salary for a squad player at a Champions League standard club. 

The game has changed rapidly and significantly, and the fact some of Europe's top clubs unsuccessfully attempted to create a European Super League earlier this week suggests there's no end in sight to the exponential economic growth across the game. 

As player salaries continue to rise, it seems that the individuals who are choosing to line the pockets of football's superstars are seeking for new ways to satisfy their mind-boggling demands. 

But who are the highest earners on the planet and how much do they take home on a weekly basis?

Well, a video published by HITC Sevens last month has revealed the biggest earners in the game at age from 16 through to 40. 

The video relies on data from the Football Manager 21 database unless stated otherwise. 

Before we unveil the list in full, there is some basic housekeeping to take care of.  

In the video Sergio Ramos is labelled as the highest paid 34-year-old but he has turned 35 since the video went live, replacing Luka Modric as the highest paid 35-year-old in the process. 

With that in mind, we dived into Salary Sport's database to identify the highest-paid 34 year old.

Having consulted the data, it turns out that Luis Suarez is the highest-paid 34 year old on a salary of £281,000-per-week.

William Saliba was also named as the top earning 19-year-old, but he celebrated his 20th birthday on 24 March 2021. 

It was difficult to track down the highest earning 19-year-old on Salary Sport, but with a reported wage of £90,000-per-week (per Spotrac) Gabriel Martinelli appears to be at the top of his age group.

Take a look at the ranking in ascending age order below: 

16: Youssoufa Moukoukou (£6,000-per-week)

17. Jude Bellingham (£52,000-per-week)

18. Ansu Fati (£70,000-per-week)

19. Gabriel Martinelli (£90,000-per-week)

20. Vinicius Junior (£197,000-per-week)

21. Matthijs de Ligt (£214,000-per-week)

22. Kylian Mbappe (£403,000-per-week)

23. Ousmane Dembele (£212,000-per-week)

24. Ben Chilwell (£190,000-per-week)

25. Leroy Sane (£298,000-per-week)

26. Marquinhos (£250,000-per-week)

27. Talisca (£383,000-per-week)

28. Philippe Coutinho (£406,000-per-week)

29. Neymar (£859,000-per-week)

30. Eden Hazard (£407,000-per-week)

31. Gareth Bale (£564,000-per-week)

32. Paulinho (£450,000-per-week)

33. Lionel Messi (Just shy of £4m-per-week) 

34. Luis Suarez (£281,000-per-week)

35. Sergio Ramos (£340,000-per-week)

36. Cristiano Ronaldo (Reportedly in the region of £1m-per-week)

37. Franck Ribery (Just over £100,000-per-week)

38. Pepe Reina (£65,000-per-week)

39. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£187,000-per-week)

40. Rodrigo Tabata (More than £27,000-per-week)

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