‍How Much Do Soccer Players Make?

Soccer, the most popular sport in the world, is played by elite athletes and watched by billions of fans around the globe. As the sport’s popularity continues to grow, so does the curiosity surrounding the financial aspect of the game. One question often comes to mind is: How much do soccer players make? This comprehensive guide delves into soccer salaries, exploring the factors influencing player earnings and examining the highest-paying leagues and players.

The Factors Influencing Soccer Salaries

Several factors contribute to the wide range of salaries in soccer. These factors include the player’s level in the professional pyramid, their league, the team they play for, their position, age, and abilities. As a result, professional soccer players’ earnings can range from tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars every year.

Leagues and Countries

Players in Europe’s most significant leagues are generally paid the most. The average salaries in the Brazilian, Mexican, and United States leagues don’t even break into the top 5 of Europe’s highest-paying divisions. However, even within Europe, there is a significant difference in average salaries between countries and leagues. The English Premier League, for example, has the highest average salary, followed by Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga, and France’s Ligue 1.

Player Position and Abilities

A player’s position and abilities also play a significant role in determining their salary. For instance, forwards and attacking midfielders, often the most skilled and creative players on the field, tend to command higher wages than defenders and goalkeepers. This is because these positions are responsible for scoring goals, which are the most valuable currency in the sport.

Age and Experience

Age and experience are other factors that can influence a soccer player’s salary. Younger, less experienced players typically earn less than their older, more experienced counterparts. However, this is not always the case, as young, talented players can still command high wages due to their potential to become future superstars.

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European Player Salaries: A Closer Look

European soccer leagues are home to some of the most well-paid players in the world, with top earners like Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Cristiano Ronaldo making up to $78 million from their teams. Their annual income can inflate even further when you factor in sponsorship, image rights, advertising deals, and endorsements. Here’s a breakdown of the top 5 paying leagues in Europe:

  1. England (Premier League): $3.9 million average salary
  2. Spain (La Liga): $2.75 million average salary
  3. Italy (Serie A): $2.23 million average salary
  4. Germany (Bundesliga): $2.05 million average salary
  5. France (Ligue 1): $1.54 million average salary

English Premier League Salaries

The English Premier League is the wealthiest in player salaries, with an average salary of approximately $3.9 million annually. This high salary level can be attributed to the league’s popularity, loyal fan base, talented players, and success in international tournaments.

Average Salary in the Premier League by Team

The average salary per player in the Premier League varies by team, with top clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool paying significantly more than smaller clubs like Norwich or Brighton. Here’s a list of the average salary per player for each Premier League team:

How Much Do Soccer Players Make in a Month, Week, and Hour?

People often wonder how much soccer players make in a month, week, day, or even hour. To give a better scope of how much Premier League players truly earn, let’s break down their average pay:

  • Average monthly salary: $325,000
  • Average weekly wage: $75,000
  • Average hourly pay: $446.42

It’s important to note that this is their earnings every hour of the day, not their work hours, as soccer players don’t work regular hours.


Spain’s La Liga Salaries

Spain’s La Liga is the second-highest-paying league in Europe, with an average salary of around $2.75 million per year. Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are known for their high wage bills, attracting some of the world’s best players with lucrative contracts.

Italy’s Serie A Salaries

Italy’s Serie A comes in third place, with an average yearly salary of $2.23 million. Clubs like Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan are known for their high spending on player salaries, but even smaller clubs in the league pay competitive wages to attract talent.

Germany’s Bundesliga Salaries

The Bundesliga, Germany’s top league, has an average salary of $2.05 million annually. Bayern Munich, the country’s most successful club, is known for its high wage bill. Still, other clubs like Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig pay impressive salaries to attract and retain top talent.

France’s Ligue 1 Salaries

Rounding out the top five highest-paying leagues in Europe is France’s Ligue 1, with an average salary of $1.54 million per year. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is the league’s highest spender, attracting global superstars like Lionel Messi and Neymar with eye-watering contracts.

The Highest-Paid Soccer Players in the World

According to the Forbes rich list, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid soccer player in the world, reportedly earning approximately $125 million per year between his Manchester United salary, sponsorships, and endorsements. However, his salary is less than some of the top earners around Europe, such as Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Top 10 Highest-Paid Soccer Players in 2021

Here’s a list of the highest salaries in Europe for the 2021/22 season, excluding potential sponsorship earnings, endorsements, and other business ventures:

  1. Lionel Messi (PSG): $68.6 million per year
  2. Neymar (PSG): $43.47 million per year
  3. Luis Suarez (Athletico Madrid): $41.2 million per year
  4. Antoine Griezmann (Athletico Madrid/Barcelona): $41.2 million per year
  5. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): $35.8 million per year
  6. Kylian Mbappe (PSG): $29.4 million per year
  7. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United): $29 million per year
  8. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City): $27.6 million per year
  9. David De Gea (Manchester United): $26.8 million per year
  10. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich): $25.1 million per year

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Female Soccer Players’ Salaries

Female soccer players make significantly less than their male counterparts, with the highest-paid female player, Carli Lloyd (now retired), earning approximately 40,000 annually. The highest-paid player in the league is Chelsea’s Samantha Kerr, who makes around $270,000.

United States National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Salaries

The NWSL has a salary cap, with a minimum salary of 52,200. Franchises can supplement their players’ incomes with healthcare, housing, and transport allowances. Each team can also top up players’ salaries from an allocated pot worth $400,000, allowing star players to earn even more.

Top Female Soccer Player Salaries

Some of the highest-paid female soccer players include:

  • Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride and US national team): Approximately $450,000 per season
  • Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign and US national team): Approximately $447,000 per season
  • Christen Press (Angel City FC): Over $183,000 per season as part of a 3-year deal

Comparing Soccer to Other High-Paying Sports

American football and soccer top the list regarding direct earnings from the sport. Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys topped the Forbes 2021 list for on-the-field earnings, making an estimated $97.5 million annually. Other high-paying sports in 2021 included basketball, tennis, Formula 1 racing, and golf.


There’s no denying that soccer players make significant money, especially in Europe’s top leagues. However, it’s essential to remember that these salaries result from various factors, including the player’s abilities, position, age, experience, and league. While the gap between male and female soccer players’ salaries remains vast, it’s crucial to continue advocating for equal pay and better financial support for female athletes. Overall, the world of soccer salaries is a fascinating and ever-evolving landscape, offering insight into the sport’s popularity and the value placed on its athletes.

Categories: Soccer Facts



As a soccer coach and graduate in Physical Education, I bring a wealth of expertise to the field. My coaching philosophy combines technical precision with a passion for player well-being. With a commitment to fostering both skill and sportsmanship, I aim to empower athletes, nurturing their growth not only as players but as individuals on the journey to success.


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