Who is the world’s richest footballer? The answer isn’t whom you’d expect

For more than a decade, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated Europe’s footballing scene. They play for two European powerhouses, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, and both players are among the highest-paid athletes in the world.

According to Forbes, Lionel Messi was the highest-paid athlete last year, earning $130 million (£110 million) in pre-tax gross earnings. Whereas Messi and NBA great LeBron James have $121.2 million (£102 million), Ronaldo has $115 million (£97 million).

Messi’s PSG colleague Neymar is fourth on the list, with earnings of almost $95 million. These are the only three footballers who made the top ten list. Is Messi, however, the world’s richest footballer? GOAL attempts to discover…

Who is the world’s richest footballer?

Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar may be the best earnings, but their net worth is considerably behind that of the world’s richest footballer. Faiq Bolkiah, the Prince of Brunei’s son, is the richest footballer on the planet, with an estimated net worth of $20 billion (£16.9 billion).

Bolkiah Faiq

The Brunei national team captain is from one of the world’s wealthiest families. His father, Jefri Bolkiah, is the Prince of Brunei, and his uncle, Hassanal, is the country’s Sultan or king.

Faiq Bolkiah

The 24-year-old spent his formative years at Southampton, Chelsea, and Leicester City academies. He joined Maritimo in Portugal in 2020 after failing to gain a spot in senior squads with Premier League clubs. Faiq joined Chonburi in Thailand after spending a year there. He has made 14 appearances in the Thai league and has four assists.

Bolkiah has made six appearances for his country and scored once.

Flamini, Mathieu

The former Arsenal player may not be regarded as the finest in the game, but he has done very well in his secondary career as an entrepreneur.

Mathieu Flamini

He co-founded GF Biochemicals, a significant manufacturer of levulinic acids and derivatives. Its headquarters are in Italy, and it also has a presence in the Netherlands. Pasquale Granata is his business partner.

Flamini’s net worth exceeds $10 billion (£8.5 billion).

Ronaldo, Cristiano

The Portuguese man is not only a football great, but also a commercial magnate. He is sponsored by Nike, ZTE, KFC, Samsung, and numerous other multinational corporations.

CR7 is a brand in his own right, with a luxury clothing and accessory collection. He also owns and operates the CR7 Pestana hospitality and hotel group. His net worth is estimated to be at $500 million (£423 million).

Messi, Lionel

Messi earns more at PSG than Ronaldo does at Manchester United, yet the Argentine behind his professional opponent in the net worth index.

He, like Ronaldo, has his own clothing brand, the Messi shop, which he opened in Barcelona in 2019. He owns the MiM hotel chain, a premium brand in which Messi invested roughly £26 million in 2017.

The footballer also has a lifetime contract with Adidas and supports a number of other companies, including Pepsi, MasterCard, and Budweiser. His net worth is estimated to be over $450 million (£381 million).

Beckham, David

The England international may have gone from the sport a long time ago, but he remains a global icon. He is a co-owner of MLS club Inter Miami and a brand ambassador for H&M, Adidas, Diageo, and L’Oreal, to mention a few.

David Beckham

According to the Sun, Beckham received over £29 million in dividends from his company DB Ventures Limited between 2016 and 2017, equating to around £40,000 each day.

According to documents filed with Companies House, Beckham received a £18.75 million dividend from his company, DB Ventures Limited, in 2017, after receiving a £10.2 million payout in 2016. His net worth is projected to be in the $400 million (£338 million) range.


Player Net Worth is ranked in order of importance:

1.Faiq Bolkiah$20 billion
2.Mathieu Flamini $14 billion
3.Cristiano Ronaldo$500 million
4. Lionel Messi$450 million
5.David Beckham$400 million
6.Dave Whelan$220 million
7.Neymar$200 million
8.Zlatan Ibrahimovic$190 million
9.Ronaldo$160 million
10.Alexandre Pato$145 million

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