With the 2o17/18 football season underway, it's fair to say that money dominated last year's headlines.
The 13 richest footballers in the world
Only three footballers are worth over £100 million ($128.6 million).
Premier League clubs collectively spent over a billion pounds on signings, while Paris Saint-Germain broke the world transfer record when it spent €222 million (£200 million) on Neymar.
Clubs were also boosted by record TV revenues. This helps them pay players huge wages. Footballers are also free to pursue off-the-pitch sponsorship deals.
Following on from our list of 15 richest football club owners in England, Business Insider has ranked the 13 richest footballers in the world using net worth data from the Sunday Times rich list, Forbes, football website Goal.com, and financial services site Gobankingrates.com.
Here they are in ascending order.
13: Luis Suárez, FC Barcelona — net worth £31 million ($40 million).
Forbes claims Luis Suárez makes £13.4 million ($17.3 million) at Barcelona, while sponsorship deals with Adidas and Pepsi also bolster his firepower.
12: Cesc Fàbregas, Chelsea — net worth £35 million ($45 million).
Chelsea pays Cesc Fàbregas £8.1 million ($10.4 million) a year, but he is also benefits from a Puma football boot deal.
11: David Silva, Manchester City — net worth £36 million ($46 million).
Manchester City pays David Silva £10.4 million ($13.3 million) per year but the Spaniard tops up his income with an Adidas boot deal worth £5 million ($6.4 million).
10: John Terry, Aston Villa — net worth £39 million ($50 million).
Veteran defender John Terry left Chelsea this year as the club's most successful player of all time. However, his football career is far from over as he joined Aston Villa in July on a £4 million ($5 million) per year deal.
9: Sergio Agüero, Manchester City — net worth £40 million ($51 million).
Sergio Agüero is paid £10.4 million ($13.3 million) a year by Manchester City but earns even more — £14 million ($18 million) — from his sponsors, Puma and Pepsi.
8: Yaya Touré, Manchester City — net worth £43 million ($55 million).
Yaya Touré defied media speculation linking him with a transfer to AC Milan and Inter Milan by signing a one-year contract extension at Manchester City. He was previously earning £10.4 million ($13.3 million) a year but might have had to accept a 50% pay-cut just to stay at the Etihad Stadium.
7: Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain — net worth £49 million ($63 million).
Neymar secured the biggest football transfer of all time when he left FC Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain this month.
The deal netted him a £26 million per year contract but the Brazilian also receives a salary from his sponsors Nike, Panasonic, Gilette, Claro, and Red Bull. He's a partner in business management company
6: Gareth Bale, Real Madrid — net worth £56 million ($72 million).
Real Madrid pays Gareth Bale £18.2 million ($23.4 million) a year. The Welsh wizard is contractually-tied to the La Liga giants until 2022. His sponsorship agreements with Adidas, Electronic Arts, Sony, and Footlocker are worth £9 million ($11.5 million) a year.
5: Eden Hazard, Chelsea FC — net worth £77 million ($100 million).
Forbes reports that Eden Hazard earns £12.4 million ($16 million) per year at Chelsea. The Belgian attacking midfielder is sponsored by Nike but also endorses trading card company Topps and Biscoff biscuit manufacturers Lotus Bakeries.
4: Wayne Rooney, Everton — net worth £93 million ($120 million).
Wayne Rooney left Manchester United as the club's leading goalscorer of all time. He took a 50% pay cut to join Everton, which reportedly pays him £7.8 million per year.
3: Zlatan Ibrahimović, free agent — net worth £110 million ($141 million).
Zlatan Ibrahimović's one year contract at Manchester United expired in the summer. However, he still trains at the club's Carrington headquarters and is expected to re-sign with United when he returns from injury. Regardless, he has a lucrative Nike contract and even patented his own name in Sweden.
2: Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona — net worth £230 million ($295 million).
Goal.com makes £21 million ($27 million) a year from sponsorship agreements with Adidas, Pepsi, Gillette, and Turkish Airlines.
1: Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid — net worth £250 million ($321.5 million).
Cristiano Ronaldo is paid £19 million ($24.4 million) a year, according to Goal.com. Though Ronaldo gets paid £5 million less than Messi, he has far more sponsors. According to Forbes, Ronaldo is "a human billboard for a global portfolio of sponsors" like Nike, Tag Heuer, and Armani. He also has his own CR7 brand which sells aftershave and clothes.
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