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The five highest-paid footballers in the world right now

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Who are the highest-paid footballers in the world right now? Some of the game’s all-time greats feature as we rank the five footballers who take home the biggest wage per week. This lot certainly aren’t short of a little cash…

5. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) – £750,000 per week

Lionel Messi might just be the greatest footballer of all time, so there’s no surprise to see the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner rank highly here.

Even in the twilight of his record-breaking career, Messi is a gigantic pull. Inter Miami agreed a complex deal with the Argentine to make him the most expensive addition in MLS history, handing Messi a contract worth £750,000-a-week.

Messi ➡️ Alba ➡️ Messi ➡️ Alba ➡️ Messi ⚽️🔥 @MLS pic.twitter.com/nUV6UPWLqn

— 433 (@433) February 26, 2024

The deal includes profit sharing with two of MLS’ biggest partners, Apple and Adidas, while there is also an option to own a stake in Inter Miami when his contract with the club expires.

There’s designated players in MLS, and then there’s designated players.

4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) – £1.2m per week

Paris Saint-Germain’s plea to persuade Kylian Mbappe to sign a new deal in 2022 saw the Parisians break the bank to finance a new contract for the forward.

Mbappe’s two-year extension with the Ligue 1 side earned him £1.2m per week, a record at that time, after the forward turned down an approach from Real Madrid in favour of signing a new deal at the Parc des Princes.

The 25-year-old is PSG’s record scorer with 244 goals in 292 games and has won Ligue 1’s leading scorer award in five straight seasons.

Mbappe has, however, agreed to sign for Real Madrid on a free transfer in the summer, despite the lack of announcement so far. He is understood to have taken a pay-cut to join the Spaniards, though will reportedly pocket a £128million signing on fee as a free agent.

3. Karim Benzema (Al-Ittihad) – £1.6m per week

The Saudi Pro League’s emergence as a financial football superpower has seen several stars lured from Europe to the Middle East.

Karim Benzema became one of the division’s marquee arrivals last summer after swapping Real Madrid for Al-Ittihad. The 2022 Ballon d’Or winner signed a three-year contract worth around £1.6m per week, making him the third-highest earner in world football.

Embed from Getty Images

Benzema has struggled to settle in Saudi Arabia, however, and has been rumoured to be interested in an exit less than one season after signing. He has scored 15 goals in 27 appearances to date, though has attracted criticism during a disappointing campaign for the defending champions, who sit fifth in the table.

2. Neymar (Al-Hilal) – £1.7m per week

Neymar also followed the trend in moving to the Saudi Pro League last summer, as one of world football’s most recognisable stars signed for Al-Hilal.

The 32-year-old – who became the most expensive footballer of all time when signing for Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in a £198m deal in 2017 – moved to Al-Hilal after six largely mixed seasons in French football.

Al-Hilal are top of the Saudi Pro League and unbeaten this season, though have failed to see a return on their investment in the Brazilian forward. Neymar suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury on international duty in October that has restricted him to just five appearances this season.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr) – £3.4m per week

Cristiano Ronaldo was the trailblazer for Saudi football after joining Al-Nassr from Manchester United in January 2023.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner moved to the Middle East after an unceremonious exit from the Premier League and has been a big hit in the division.

Another win, another goal ⚽️ Let’s keep going @AlNassrFC_EN! pic.twitter.com/sJ0kFEAKKv

— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) February 17, 2024

Ronaldo has scored 48 goals in 55 games for Al-Nassr, who sit second in the table. He is the leading scorer in the Saudi Pro League this season (22), ahead of former Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic, and also leads the league for assists (9).

At the time of Ronaldo’s arrival, Al-Nassr’s Instagram account had 853k followers. At the time of writing, that has rocketed up to 24.9m.

The Ronaldo effect.

Read – Iconic Performances: Ronaldo treble kills Atletico’s Champions League dreams

See more – Iconic Performances: Messi lights up El Clasico with his first ever hat-trick

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