FIFA World Cup 2022: The highest paid footballers playing in the global tournament

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Billions of sports fans are tuning in from around the globe to watch some of the most talented and best-known footballers take part in the highly anticipated FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

It comes as no surprise that some of the sports stars playing at the international tournament – which began on November 20 and will run until December 18 – are also the highest-paid athletes in their field.

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The five top earners at the World Cup are estimated to earn a total of $452 million this season – out of which $173 million will be made off the pitch, according to Forbes.

Here are the top five most paid footballers playing in the World Cup:

Kylian Mbappe

France’s forward #10 Kylian Mbappe celebrates during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium. (AFP)
France’s forward #10 Kylian Mbappe celebrates during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium. (AFP)

Ranking first place is the highest paid footballer: 23-year-old Kylian Mbappe. The French player is expected to earn $128 million this season on top of the $110 million he will be paid by football club Paris Saint-Germain and the $18 million he makes through endorsement deals.

Lionel Messi

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi shoots to score a goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi shoots to score a goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia. (AFP)

Global star Lionel Messi’s earnings are projected to come in at $120 million this season, including endorsements. When he’s not representing Argentina at the World Cup, Messi plays as a forward for Paris Saint-Germain.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi shoots to score a goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi shoots to score a goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia. (AFP)

The captain of Portugal’s national team Cristiano Ronaldo earns $40 million on the field and $60 million off the field, ranking in a total of $100 million this season alone.

And while his decreased playing time has recently affected his popularity with sports fans, Ronaldo has won five Ballon d’Or awards and four European Golden Shoes – the most by a European player.

Neymar Jr.

Brazil’s forward Neymar smiles during a training session on November 17, 2022 at the Continassa training ground in Turin, as part of Brazil’s preparation ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. (AFP)
Brazil’s forward Neymar smiles during a training session on November 17, 2022 at the Continassa training ground in Turin, as part of Brazil’s preparation ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. (AFP)

Brazil’s Neymar Jr. is estimated to earn $87 million this season – $55 million on the pitch and $32 million off the pitch. The professional footballer usually plays for Paris Saint-Germain and is known to be a prolific scorer.

Robert Lewandowski

Poland’s forward #09 Robert Lewandowski reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha. (AFP)
Poland’s forward #09 Robert Lewandowski reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha. (AFP)

Polish footballer Robert Lewandowski ranks at number five with an estimated $35 million in earnings this 2022-2023 season.

The 34-year-old striker and captain of Poland’s national team makes $27 million on the field and $8 million off the field.

Read more:

FIFA World Cup Qatar: Who will Saudi Arabia play next?

Football fans react as Saudi Arabia beats Argentina in historic World Cup match

Saudi Arabia players at World Cup: Who represented the Kingdom against Argentina?

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