Of course ‘soccer’ is real football, and the world game. It is played in every country in the world, and in terms of actual players and spectators/fans is by far and away above all other (so-called) football codes in popularity, regardless of what Americans like to think concerning their code.
The top football clubs, especially in Europe, generate an enormous amount of revenue from paying fans, club clothing and memorabilia, and endorsements entered into with all manner of companies, which allows their top players to earn virtually unthinkable total amounts, especially when one remembers that 50 years ago, the ‘home’ of football – England, where leagues were first formed – had a salary cap of just 20 Pounds Sterling ($US 30) per week; Wayne Rooney’s current WEEKLY salary is equal to four times the YEARLY salary bill for the 1969 Manchester United squad, which included the legendary (Sir) Bobby Charlton, George Best and Dennis Law. Of course, having very wealthy club owners can also help.
According to authoritative sources who have researched clubs and individual players deeply, the following is a current list of the top 20 players with the highest earnings, as of 2014-2015 – only one player is from outside Europe and South America, and all their clubs are European-based. (With apologies for any unintended errors in amounts quoted!).
- 1 20. David Silva, Manchester City and Spain
- 2 19. Franck Ribery, Bayern Munich and France
- 3 18. Thiago Silva, Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil
- 4 17. Frank Lampard, Manchester City and England
- 5 16. Steven Gerrard, Liverpool and England
- 6 15. Fernando Torres, Atletico Madrid and Spain
- 7 14. Robin Van Persie, Manchester United and The Netherlands
- 8 13. Eden Hazard, Chelsea and Belgium
- 9 12. Mesut Ozil, Arsenal and Germany
- 10 11. Yaya Touré, Manchester City and Ivory Coast
- 11 10. Luis Suarez, Barcelona and Uruguay
- 12 9. Sergio Aguero, Manchester City and Argentina
- 13 8. James Rodriguez, Real Madrid and Colombia
- 14 7. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United and England
- 15 6. Radamel Falcao, Chelsea and Colombia
- 16 5. Neymar, Barcelona and Brazil
- 17 4. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid and Wales
- 18 3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain and Sweden
- 19 2. Lionel Messi, Barcelona and Argentina
- 20 1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid and Portugal