The 2022 World Cup’s Highest-Paid Players

French superstar Kylian Mbappe reigns supreme as Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo chase international fame one last time.


KElian Mbappe, the highest paid footballer on the planet, is no stranger to the World Cup. Just four years ago, he helped France win the tournament for the first time since 1998. It was a coming-out party for the then-19-year-old, who was named the best young player at the Russia-hosted event. .

Qatar 2022 could be a watershed moment for the now 23-year-old superstar, sparking a new wave of popularity and potentially an even bigger payday.

“Mbappe’s status on the world stage will be extreme, especially with EA Sports Association and his boot deal. [with Nike] And everything that comes with it,” Rossi Biddle, owner of sports marketing firm XtratimeFC, talks about his endorsement partners. He also added Mbappe, who is EA Sports’ cover athlete. FIFA 23 The video game is likely to be the face of the World Cup, and if France does well, sponsorship interest will skyrocket.

With 3.6 billion people tuning in for the final World Cup in 2018, the event offers an unparalleled exposure opportunity for stars of the global game. Across 64 matches, the tournament averaged 191 million viewers. (Fifa chief Gianni Infantino said in May that 5 billion viewers are expected for the 2022 tournament.) As a result, brands are flocking to the World Cup, and players, as it offers a lower barrier to entry to the sponsorship side of the event. . The more advanced a country is, the more exposure its star players get.

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Already, Mbappe is one of the most financially successful athletes in sports. Forbes Calculated He will earn $128 million for the 2022-23 season before taxes and agents’ fees. Thanks to a three-year contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain, industry experts say he will be paid $110 million between his salary this season and a share of the signing bonus. This is on top of the $18 million Mbappé earns annually from endorsements, including deals with Nike, Dior, Hublot, Oakley, Panini, EA Sports and Sorare.

As Mbappe looks to add a second World Cup win to his resume, two of the game’s biggest stars are still chasing their first and possibly last. Argentina’s Lionel Messi, 35, has said 2022 will be his last World Cup. The same is expected of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who turns 38 in February.

Together, the pair scored hundreds of goals, won 12 Ballons d’Or and won countless titles, including the UEFA Champions League. Yet World Cup glory eluded them. With career earnings of more than $1 billion, the duo remain the two highest-paid players in soccer, and both are expected to cross nine figures in total earnings this season, with Messi expected to earn $120 million, including endorsements. And Ronaldo for $100 million.

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For Ronaldo, the end may be closer than expected. His attitude and performances with Manchester United have been heavily criticized this season. Ronaldo, who sought a transfer in pre-season, struggled to break into his club’s first team and clashed with United manager Erik ten Haag. In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo criticized United, the Glazer family and Ten Haag, saying, “If you don’t respect me, I’ll never respect you.”

A sharp decline in playing time did not diminish his popularity. With $60 million, Ronaldo is said to be the highest paid soccer player off the pitch Forbes Calculated with partners including Nike, Herbalife and LiveScore. (Messi is the only player close to $55 million.) In July, Ronaldo agreed to an exclusive, multi-year partnership with crypto exchange Binance, which released its first NFT collection on Friday. He is also the most popular athlete account on Instagram with 497 million followers.

The five highest paid players playing in Qatar are Brazil’s Neymar Jr. and Poland’s Robert Lewandowski. Although he is only 30 years old, Neymar has publicly hinted that 2022 will be his last World Cup, and with Brazil favored to win, he has the chance to do well. Meanwhile, Lewandowski, 34, has been on fire since joining FC Barcelona in a nearly $45 million transfer earlier this year, scoring 18 goals in 18 starts. He is estimated to earn $35 million this season with $8 million off the pitch.

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Collectively, the five highest-paid players at the World Cup are expected to earn a total of $452 million this season, including $173 million off the pitch. Forbes Calculated. If any of them make a deep run, their earnings could give them not only more recognition opportunities, but also prize money — albeit on a much smaller scale. In 2018, France won $38 million and distributed $11 million among 23 players, for an average payout of nearly $480,000. FIFA will award $440 million in prize money to Qatar in 2022, with the winners receiving $42 million.

As for who the crowd will be rooting for, XtraTimeFC’s Biddle has a theory. “I think people should have another Ronaldo moment,” he added, adding, “Soccer fans love Messi, football fans love Neymar, but off the pitch they don’t necessarily attract the normal person that Ronaldo does. “

2022 World Cup Highest Paid Players


#1. $128 million

Kylian Mbappe

Age: 23 | Country: France | On-field: $110 million • Off field: $18 million


#2. $120 million

Lionel Messi

Age: 35 | Country: Argentina | On-field: $65 million • Off field: $55 million



#3. $100 million

Cristiano Ronaldo

Age: 37 | Country: Portugal | On-field: $40 million • Off field: $60 million


#4. $87 million

Neymar Jr

Age: 30 | Country: Brazil | On-field: $55 million • Off field: $32 million


#5. $35 million

Robert Lewandowski

Age: 34 | Country: Poland | On-field: $27 million • Off field: $8 million


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