Christian Ronald Tops The List Of World’s Highest-Paid Soccer Players 2023

To persuade Neymar to leave France’s Ligue 1 and join the Saudi Pro League, his new club, Al Hilal, had to deliver a soccer king’s ransom. The 31-year-old Brazilian star reportedly received a mansion with staff, a fleet of luxury cars, and access to a private jet, as well as bonuses for team wins and social media posts and permission to live with his girlfriend, which is restricted by Islamic law. That’s all on top of the estimated $80 million in on-field compensation ($112 million in total earnings) Neymar is expected to receive for playing this season.

Al Hilal can afford it. The club is one of four that Saudi Arabia’s $700 billion (assets) Public Investment Fund took control of in June and a critical piece of the Kingdom’s outsized sporting ambitions. Just as they did with LIV Golf, the Saudis are keen on shaking up the global soccer landscape and creating a new destination for top talent. And they’re not shy about spending astronomical amounts of money to land a galaxy of stars.

Saudi Pro League clubs spent just shy of $1 billion to acquire 94 overseas players during the 2023 summer transfer window, according to Deloitte. That doesn’t even account for the jaw-dropping amounts offered to players who declined to leave their European clubs, including a $1.1 billion package reportedly offered to pry Kylian Mbappé from Paris-Saint Germain for one year or the rumored three-year, $1.6 billion deal presented to Lionel Messi before he opted to take his talents to South Beach.

In total, the world’s eleven highest-paid soccer players are projected to earn $995 million this season before taxes and agents’ fees, with five crossing the nine-figure mark. That’s a staggering 53% rise over last year’s list, which ranked ten players at a record $652 million combined. Saudi Pro League players claimed four spots this year and account for more than half of the 2023 total, primarily because of their lucrative on-field deals.

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