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From ridiculous weekly wages to multi-million sponsorship deals, footballs elite superstars earn obscene amount of money ...

Forbes have released its list of 100 highest earning athletes of the world for the year 2020 with footballers Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar securing the top three spots. Here we list the top 10 footballers

1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Total Earnings: $126 million

Salary: $92 million | Endorsements: $34 million

After weeks of drama surrounding his Barcelona contract Messi retains his top spot position with a total earnings of $126 million but with his contract due to expire next year a top up of $92million doesn't sound bad for 365 day's work.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus

Total Earnings: $117 million

Salary: $70 million | Endorsements: $47 million

The Portuguese superstar is an iconic figure in the world of sport with over 457 million social media followers mainly in part because he likes to showcase his ripped physique. The Portuguese star who made the move to the Serie A side in 2018 is ranked as one of the most marketable footballers on the planet earning a whopping $47 million from endorsement deals with sponsorship deals with Nike, Herbalife, Altice, DAZN, MTG, and Unilever.

3. Neymar, Jr., Paris Saint-Germain

Total Earnings: $96 million

Salary: $78 million | Endorsements: $18 million

The 28-year old Brazilian striker, one of the most polarizing players in the game for his antics on and off the pitch, quadrupled his pay and criticism when he traded playing alongside Messi in Barcelona for Paris-Saint-Germain in August 2017 after securing a

world record transfer fee of $263million.

This summer Nike ended its relationship with Neymar allowing him to sign with Puma.

4. Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain

Total Earnings: $42 million

Salary: $28 million | Endorsements: $14 million

For a second year in a row, Mbappe was named the Ligue 1 Golden Boot winner, which honors the player with the most goals for the league. His club also repeated as league champions, declared so last season on a points-per-match basis after play was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mbappe is sponsored by EA, Hublot, and Nike.

5. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Total Earnings: $37 million

Salary: $24 million | Endorsements: $13 million

Liverpool ace and top goal scorer for the club in two consecutive seasons penned a five-year deal in the summer of 2018 which saw him rise to the peak of his career. He has the highest win rate of any league player to have appeared in over 100 matches.

Salah has endorsement deals with the Adidas brand, DHL International, EA, Vodafone-USD, and ExxonMobil. In February, the 28-year old teamed up with long-term sponsor Vodafone to become an ambassador for a UN program that brings digital learning tools to refugees in his native Egypt.

6. Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Total Earnings: $34 million

Salary: $28 million | Endorsements: $6 million

Pogba returned to his youth club Manchester United in 2016 for a then-record transfer fee of $120 million, his current deal expires next summer, although United have the option to extend it one more year. The French striker scared fans in early August posting on social media that he had signed for Verdansk F.C. It turned out to be a fictional club and a stunt by sponsor Activation to promote Call of Duty: Warzone Season 5. The 27-year old has also appeared with Messi and Salah in Pepsi’s “Play Never Stops” campaign. 

Pogba’s major sponsors include the sportswear manufacturer, Adidas and PepsiCo. He is also involved in charity programmers to provide clean water in Africa.

7. Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona

Total Earnings: $33 million

Salary: $28 million | Endorsements: $5 million

Since the Frenchman’s disappointing debut at Barcelona this past season, rumors have swirled that the club is negotiating to swap him to PSG in return for Neymar, at the request of Messi. Griezmann is an avid Brooklyn Nets fan, often jetting over the U.S. for games and frequently posting his support on social media. Nets star Kevin Durant even helped Barca unveil Griezmann’s uniform switch from No. 17 to No. 7 ahead of the 2020-21 season. In January, he launched Grizi Esports to compete in FIFA, Fortnite, CS:Go, and Rainbow Six. 

His total earnings are boosted by his mouthwatering endorsement deals from footwear maker Puma and Chinese tech company Huawei.

8. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid

Total Earnings: $29 million

Salary: $23 million | Endorsements: $6 million

Bale must be the most expensive sub in the history of the sport as his fraught relationship with manager Zinedine Zidane continues. He has played in just two of Madrid's last 11 La Liga matches and then was left off the club’s 24-man Champions League squad in early August.

The Real Madrid forward has also launched his own eSports company, Ellevens Esports. 

9. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich

Total Earnings: $28 million

Salary: $24 million | Endorsements: $4 million

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, France Football, organizers of the Ballon d’Or, decided to cancel the individual award for the world’s best player. In doing so it is robbing Lewandowski who was the clear favorite to win. Across all competitions, the Polish striker has directly contributed to 65 goals for Bayern this season — 55 goals and 10 assists in 47 matches. In the Champions League, he scored in every match up until the final against PSG which his team won on a lone goal by teammate Kingsley Coman. Off the pitch, he is one of the most popular athletes on TikTok with 2.4 million followers. 

10. David De Gea, Manchester United

Total Earnings: $27 million

Salary: $24 million | Endorsements: $3 million

The Red Devil’s goalie, David De Gea, became the highest-earning goalkeeper in soccer history with an annual earning of an estimated $24 million after he sealed an extension in his contract that will keep him at Manchester United till 2023. In July, he made his 400th appearance in goal in his ninth year with Man United and broke the club record for the most shutouts.

Endorsements also account for $3 million in the Spaniard’s $25.7 million annual income with deals with Adidas and PepsiCo.

Article data provided by Forbes Money

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