World’s highest-paid football players in 2022 – in pictures

Kylian Mbappé tops the Forbes rich list ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

PSG forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappé
PSG forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappé
(Image credit: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

For the first time since 2014, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo find themselves in “unfamiliar territory” – they no longer hold the title of the world’s highest-paid football player. According to the Forbes list for the 2022-2023 season, Paris Saint-Germain and France striker Kylian Mbappé has taken the top spot, with Messi and Ronaldo in second and third respectively.

Forbes created its ranking by combining total on-field earnings for the 2022-2023 season, including “base salaries and bonuses”, and off-field estimates that “reflect annual cash from endorsements, licensing, appearances and memorabilia, as well as businesses operated by the players”.

The top ten highest-paid players in world football are expected to collect record pre-tax earnings of $652m – this is an 11% increase from last year’s $585m. Here we take a look at which players feature on the list…

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1. Kylian Mbappé: $128m

Kylian Mbappé of Paris Saint-Germain

(Image credit: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain and France

A World Cup winner in 2018 with France, Kylian Mbappé will collect “roughly $110m between his salary and a share of his signing bonus for this season”, Forbes said. The 23-year-old will also earn an estimated $18m in annual endorsements from partners including Nike, Dior, Hublot, Oakley and Panini. “He’s a global icon already,” Sorare co-founder and CEO Nicolas Julia told Forbes in June. Mbappé, who signed a new three-year deal with PSG in May, also topped the most valuable football players in the world list for 2022.

2. Lionel Messi: $110m

Lionel Messi

(Image credit: David Rogers/Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina

Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi is second behind PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappé. The Argentina captain, 35, will earn a total of $110m in 2022-2023 ($65m on-pitch and $55m off-pitch).

3. Cristiano Ronaldo: $100m

Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Manchester United

(Image credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Manchester United and Portugal

He may be currently having a tough time at Manchester United, but Cristiano Ronaldo remains one of the world’s most marketable footballers. In 2022-2023 the 37-year-old Portugal captain will earn a total of $100m ($40m on-pitch and $60m off-pitch).

4. Neymar Jr: $87m

Neymar PSG

(Image credit: Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

Paris Saint-German and Brazil

Part of PSG’s famed “MNM” front-line, Neymar Jr joins team-mates Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi as one of the world’s highest-paid footballers. Ranked fourth, the 30-year-old Brazilian will earn $87m in 2022-2023 ($55m on-pitch and $32m off-pitch).

5. Mohamed Salah: $53m

Liverpool and Egypt striker Mohamed Salah

(Image credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Liverpool and Egypt

Liverpool’s “Egyptian king” Mohamed Salah takes fifth place on the list with total earnings of $53m ($35m on-pitch and $18m off-pitch). Off the pitch the 30-year-old has turned into an “enormously marketable athlete who allows Liverpool reach into new markets”, said the Liverpool Echo.

6. Erling Haaland: $39m

Erling Haaland celebrates City's first goal during the UEFA Champions League

(Image credit: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Manchester City and Norway

Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland has set the Premier League alight since joining English champions Manchester City in the summer. Appearing in the Forbes top ten for the first time, the 22-year-old striker will earn $39m in 2022-2023 ($35m on-pitch and $4m off-pitch).

7. Robert Lewandowski: $35m

Robert Lewandowski

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Barcelona and Poland

Robert Lewandowski, another of Europe’s most prolific goalscorers, ended eight trophy-filled seasons at Bayern Munich in July with a move to Spanish giants Barcelona. The Poland captain, 34, will earn $35m in 2022-2023 ($27m on-pitch and $8m off-pitch).

8. Eden Hazard: $31m

Eden Hazard

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Real Madrid and Belgium

Eden Hazard has struggled with injuries since moving to Real Madrid from Chelsea in 2019, but he has continued to earn millions of dollars. Eighth on the Forbes list, the Belgium attacker will earn a total of $31m in 2022-2023 ($27m on-pitch and $4m off-pitch).

9. Andrés Iniesta: $30m

Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe

(Image credit: Hiroki Watanabe/Getty Images)

Vissel Kobe

Although aged 38, Spanish midfielder Andrés Iniesta still plays professionally in Japan for J1 League club Vissel Kobe, where he is captain. The former Barcelona and Spain star, who scored the winning goal for his country in the 2010 Fifa World Cup final against the Netherlands, will have total earnings of $30m ($25m on-pitch and $5m off-pitch) in 2022-2023.

10. Kevin De Bruyne: $29m

Kevin De Bruyne of Man City

(Image credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Manchester City and Belgium

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is tenth on the Forbes ranking with total earnings of $29m ($25m on-pitch and $4m off-pitch) in 2022-2023. The Belgium playmaker is expected to appear for his country at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

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