Highest-paid World Cup players: Messi, Ronaldo top 2018 field

By SportsFOXBusiness

Sports betting's bullish future in America

Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl on the future of sports gambling in the U.S.

The world’s highest-paid soccer players will be in action this month at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Continue Reading Below

Soccer’s global popularity typically allows its biggest stars to become some of the richest athletes in the world, in any sport. Of the top 10 highest-paid athletes on Forbes’ annual list, three are soccer players who will participate in the World Cup: Lionel Messi of Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Neymar of Brazil.

Star players earn the vast majority of their income in salary from their professional teams and endorsement opportunities. The World Cup’s 32 teams will split a total prize pool of $400 million, though national soccer federations have the option of separately compensating their players based on performance.

FOX Business breaks down the highest-earning players at this year’s World Cup below, according to Forbes’ calculations.

Lionel Messi, Argentina, $111 million

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017 filer, Argentina's Lionel Messi controls the ball during the international friendly soccer match between Russia and Argentina at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

A five-time winner of FIFA’s “Ballon d’Or,” or player of the year award, Messi is considered one of the most prolific playmakers in the sport’s history. Over the last year, the 5-foot-7 forward has earned $84 million in salary and $27 million through endorsement deals with companies like Adidas, Mastercard and Pepsi.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal, $108 million

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 28, 2017 filer, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo keeps his eyes on the ball during the Confederations Cup, semifinal soccer match between Portugal and Chile, at the Kazan Arena, Russia. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, File)

Arguably the most recognizable soccer player in the world, Ronaldo recently led his club team, Real Madrid, to a third consecutive title victory in the Champions League, soccer’s most prestigious tournament. Ronaldo earns $61 million in salary and another $47 million from endorsement deals with companies like Nike and Herbalife.

Neymar, Brazil, $90 million

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017 filer, Brazil's Neymar kicks the ball past Chile goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, right, during a World Cup qualifying soccer match in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine, File)

Neymar, 26, holds the world record for the richest transfer fee after changing teams from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in early 2017. A key contributor to Brazil’s loaded national team, Neymar earns $73 million from salary and $17 million in endorsements in the last year.

Paul Pogba, France, $29.5 million

France's Paul Pogba controls the ball ahead of Florian Thauvin during the first training session of France at the 2018 soccer World Cup in Glebovets, Russia, Monday, June 11, 2018. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

Aside from playing a leading role on the French national team, Pogba, 25, plays midfield for Manchester United of the Premier League. His $29.5 million in total earnings includes an endorsement deal with Adidas.

Oscar, Brazil, $27.4 million

ARCHIV - Fußball: Testspiele, Werder Bremen - FC Chelsea am 07.08.2016 in Bremen. Chelseas Spieler Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior erzielt das Tor zum 0:2. (zu dpa "Chelsea-Spieler Oscar wechselt für Riesen-Summe nach Shanghai" am 23.12.2016) Photo b

The Brazilian midfielder, whose full name is Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Junior, has 12 goals in international play.

What do you think?

Click the button below to comment on this article.