Talent, if discovered, can turn passion into profit – this is a statement that’s valid in pretty much every area of life, from music to acting and sports. There are many excellent athletes active around the world but just a few of them stand out through a unique combination of talent and marketability. This usually translates into massive salaries and pretty decent fortunes, and at a relatively early age, too. So, let’s take a look at the list of the richest football talents this year according to Forbes Magazine.
Pogba started his senior career at Manchester United but only stepped on the playfield three times during his first senior season, as a substitute. After a season, he left for Juventus amid accusations of disrespecting the Manchester club by Alex Ferguson. He played the first full match of his career at Juve in September 2012 and scored his first senior goal there the coming October. His performance was praised by his fellow players and analysts alike. At the end of his four-year contract with Juve, Pogba returned to Manchester United for a fee of €105 million. He currently has a $20 million yearly salary, making him one of the richest athletes under the age of 25 today. That until March, when he turns 26, of course.
Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale is the fourth on Forbes’ list this year with a yearly salary of $33 million, plus bonuses and endorsements. He started his professional career at Southampton from where he moved on to Tottenham after just one season for a £7 million transfer fee. His eight years at the Spurs boosted his value, it seems – when moving to Real Madrid, the Spanish club had to cough up a transfer fee of €100.8 million in 2013.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, known to the world as Neymar, spent his first four senior years with the Brazilian team Santos before being signed by Barcelona in 2013 for a transfer fee of €57.1 million. Once again, his time abroad added a lot of value to him, so that when he finally left Spain for Paris Saint Germain, the transfer fee was huge – €222 million paid to the Spanish club, a world record. His contract states that he will receive a salary of $350 million across his five-year contract – that’s around $70 million a year. Plus bonuses and endorsements, of course.
Cristiano Ronaldo needs no introduction. He is possibly the best football player in the world and considered by many one of the best of all time – his more than 670 career goals sure seem to indicate this. Aside from his stellar salary, Ronaldo has a lifetime contract with Nike reportedly worth upwards of $1 billion. Still, this football icon is not the highest-paid footballer of 2018.
With a yearly salary of $84 million and endorsements worth over $27 million this year, Lionel “Leo” Messi is this year’s highest-paid footballer and the second-highest-paid athlete in the world overall (the highest-paid athlete is Floyd Mayweather with earnings that exceed $285 million in 2018). Messi emerged from a small football club in Rosario, Argentina, before having been sent for trials to Barcelona through some relatives of the family living in Catalonia. He was accepted and moved to an apartment at Camp Nou with his family. After three years of preparations, he was promoted to Barcelona’s C team, from where he worked his way up to the first. He appeared in 425 matches with the club and scored 388 goals, and he was capped 128 times for the Argentina national team, scoring 65 times.
Messi has advertising deals with brands like Gatorade, Pepsi, Huawei, and Hawkers, among others.