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Football players who make the most money worldwide in 2023 | Who makes the most money? | Radio Times


Despite the Saudi Pro League's best efforts and Lionel Messi's blockbuster switch to Inter Miami, Europe's top divisions remain leading attractions for the world's best players and there is still plenty of cash kicking about in the Premier League, La Liga and more.

It certainly pays to be good at football, but who are the highest-paid players in the world? We've put the calculator to good use to work out the 10 stars earning the most from their clubs.

RadioTimes.com examines the top 10 highest-paid players in the world. We've based our figures on reports from trusted news sources and databases to boost our accuracy.

All figures mentioned are before tax – unless specified – and do not include bonuses, extra fees and players' various sponsorship deals which, in some cases, can instantly double their annual income.

10. Kalidou Koulibaly (Al Hilal) – £500,000

Kalidou Koulibaly was heralded as the perfect replacement for Antonio Rudiger at Chelsea but less than 12 months later he was one of the many high-profile players to make the switch to Saudi Arabia.

Al Hilal forked out a £20 million transfer fee and, despite a sub-par year in the Premier League, he earned a substantial boost to his weekly pay packet.

9. Riyad Mahrez (Al-Ahli) – £580,000

A new challenge was on the agenda for Riyad Mahrez after helping Manchester City to the treble in the 2022/23 season.

The Algeria international winger sealed a £30 million switch to Al Ahli and he is under the terms of his lucrative contract with the Saudi Professional League side until 2027.

8. Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq) – £650,000

Jordan Henderson stunned Liverpool and England fans by quitting the Premier League to link up with Steven Gerrard at Saudi Professional League side Al-Ettifaq in July 2023.

The £12 million transfer means the 32-year-old midfielder is the highest-paid English footballer in the history of the game.

7. Sadio Mane (Al Nassr) – £650,000

A disappointing season at Bayern Munich saw Sadio Mane seal a transfer for the second summer in a row.

The former Liverpool forward has joined Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia at Al Nassr on a four-year deal until 2027.

6. Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) – £750,000

Lionel Messi shunned a switch to Saudi Arabia and an emotional return to Barcelona in order to join David Beckham's Inter Miami on a free transfer after his PSG contract expired.

The World Cup winner is in the final years of his career but he has already had a major impact on the MLS outfit's fortunes.

5. Kylian Mbappe (PSG) – £1.6m

The new captain of the French national team certainly deserves his place towards the top of this list thanks to his dazzling displays for club and country.

Kylian Mbappe was offered a world-record deal to make the move to Saudi Arabia for one season but he has opted to stay put at PSG and could even extend his contract.

4. N'Golo Kante (Al-Ittihad) – £1.65m

N'Golo Kante was tempted to Saudi Arabia on a two-year contract after his deal with Chelsea expired at the end of the 2022/23 season.

The 32-year-old is one of the most decorated players in recent history having won all the major trophies including the World Cup and Champions League.

3. Neymar (Al Hilal) – £2.5m

Neymar is the latest in a long line of big names to quit Europe for the riches on offer in Saudi Arabia by joining Al Hilal on a two-year deal from PSG in August 2023.

PSG will wonder whether they really got value for money for the world-record transfer fee they forked out for the Brazilian forward as he failed to lead the club to Champions League glory in six seasons.

2. Karim Benzema (Al-Ittihad) – £3.4m

Karim Benzema brought the curtain down on his hugely-successful spell at Real Madrid by leaving the Bernabeu upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the 2022/23 season.

The 2022 Balon d'Or winner then stunned the footballing world by putting pen to paper on a two-year contract with Saudi Professional League outfit Al-Ittihad on a blockbuster free transfer.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr) – £3.4m

One of the greatest players in the history of the game attracted plenty of criticism for moving to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League after a mutual termination of his contract at Manchester United in late 2022.

It's laughable to think Cristiano Ronaldo signed the two-and-a-half-year deal for a footballing challenge, but his bank balance is certainly benefiting.

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