FIFA WORD CUP 2018: Football’s highest paid million dollar babies

FIFA WORD CUP 2018: Football’s highest paid million dollar babies - InsideSport

The FIFA World Cup 2018 will have six representations from the Forbes latest list of world’s 100 highest paid athletes. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have over the years been the dominant factors and football’s strongest representations in the elite million dollar athletes group.

As the FIFA World Cup Finals 2018 kick starts on June 14, Friday, in Moscow, only six of the Forbes’ 100 richest athletes will join the high octane action in Russia.

Forbes Highest Paid Athletes list for 2018 has nine footballers – three of them have failed to make the grade for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Here is the list of the other six footballers and their description from Forbes’ Highest Paid Athletes for 2018 table.

6. Sergio Agüero – Argentina

Argentina football star Sergio Agüero - InsideSport

Total Earnings : $23.5 mn

Salary / Bonus : $23.5 mn

Endorsements: $ 6 mn

Placed at the 86th position among the 100 Highest Paid Athletes, the Argentine striker has been the top goal scorer each season for Manchester City ever since joining the club in 2011. This season he became the club’s all-time leading goal scorer, having hit the back of the net 199 times in 291 career appearances. His long-term sponsor Puma gifted him with a pair of gold boots to wear to celebrate the occasion. The Blues has striker signed a one-year contract extension last year and has publicly stated he will leave for Argentina when it expires in June 2020.

5. Luis Suarez – Uruguay

Total Earnings : $26.9 mn

Salary / Bonus : $ 19.9 mn

Endorsements: $ 7 mn

Ranked 60th in the Forbes’ list, Luis Suarez matches the fancied Barcelona star Lionel Messi in performance statistics for the La Liga club. The Uruguayan’s $ 20 million salary and bonus contract with Barcelona runs through July 2021. This January during his 114th match with the club, he notched his 100th La Liga goal, getting there quicker than it took teammate and five-time Ballon d’or winner Lionel Messi (154 matches). For the second year in a row, he ended the season as his club’s second top scorer with 25 goals (behind Messi’s 36) and jointly led his team in assists (tied at 12 with Messi). His performance on the pitch has helped him to make up for his controversial exit from the 2014 World Cup, after FIFA banned him for biting an Italian opponent, a distant memory in marketing departments.

Long-time boot sponsor Adidas launched an alphaskin collection with the forward this past winter and used him along with Messi and Pogba to launch their ‘Cold Blooded’ collection. In April Gatorade launched its largest international campaign in history and its first in a specific sport with Suarez and Messi as friends turned rivals for the World Cup. His appeal has spread to Asia where he pitches upstart tech gadget company Tronsmart and mobile phone company Gome, both in China, and Tourism Malaysia.

4. Paul Pogba – France

Total Earnings : $29.7 mn

Salary / Bonus : $ 19.9 mn

Endorsements: $ 7 mn

The 52nd ranked Frenchman on the Forbes’ list, Paul Pogba has returned returned to Manchester United in 2016 for a $120 million transfer fee, four seasons after departing for Juventus in Italy for pennies. His five-year contract pays more than $20 million in salary annually. A drop in form this past season resulted in manager Jose Mourinho leaving him out of key matches and the Frenchman telling his country’s national television he is uncertain of his future. The midfielder, known for his eccentric hairstyles, has a 10-year deal with Adidas. The German sportswear maker launched a high-end street culture clothing line with his name. He celebrated turning 25 this March by asking his 6.9 million Facebook followers to donate to Save the Children.

3. Neymar – Brazil

Total Earnings : $90 mn

Salary / Bonus : $ 73 mn

Endorsements: $ 17 mn

The Brazilian star striker is placed at a respectable 5th position among Forbes’ Highest Paid Athletes for 2018 for his gross annual income of $90 million. In August 2017, the Brazilian superstar has signed a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain worth a total cash outlay of more than $600 million. Of that, $250 million was paid to his former club Barcelona to release him from his contract there. The remaining $350 million will be paid in salary through his playing contract that lasts until June 2022. The 26-year-old works off the pitch with global sponsors Nike, Red Bull, Gillette, McDonalds and Beats by Dre. He was the first soccer player to have his own custom Air Jordan sneakers made by the Swoosh. The forward at present is the highest salaried footballer in the world.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal

Total Earnings : $108 mn

Salary / Bonus : $ 61 mn

Endorsements: $ 47 mn

Relegated to the No 3 position among highest paid athletes, the Portuguese and Real Madrid superstar was the table topper a season ago. Ronaldo netted 44 goals in 43 matches in all competition this past season and added a fifth Ballon d’Or, given to the world’s best player, and his fifth Champions League title to his trophy shelf. His current contract with Real Madrid is set to pay him over $50 million for the next three years through his 36th birthday. His lifetime Nike contract is worth upward of $1 billion. He has an array of other deals including Herbalife, EA Sports and American Tourister, along with a growing line of CR7 branded products including shoes, underwear, fragrance, jeans, a children’s line (for which he models with his son), a line of hotels and soon-to-open restaurants in Brazil. He remains the most popular athlete in the world with 322 million social media followers.

1. Lionel Messi – Argentina

Total Earnings : $111 mn

Salary / Bonus : $ 84 mn

Endorsements: $ 27 mn

The highest earning footballer for his $111 million annual revenues as per the Forbes list, Messi has also finished the 2017-18 season as the top scoring player in the Top 5 European Leagues with 45 goals in all competitions. In November 2017, he agreed to a contract extension with Barcelona that will keep him with the club through 2020-21 and pay him an annual salary and bonus in excess of $80 million, making him the highest-paid for his work on the pitch. He will pay that with a lifelong deal with Adidas. Other deals include Gatorade, Pepsi, Ooredoo, Huawei and Hawkers. A theme park based on him, Messi Experience Park, is set to open in 2020 in the Chinese city of Nanjing.