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Soccer Salaries – How much do soccer players make?

Soccer Salaries – How much do soccer players make?

Soccer Salaries

Soccer salaries exceed millions of dollars, pounds, yen and euro annually. Professional soccer players are some of the highest paid athletes of any sport in the world.  In fact, as of May, 2012, in the top 5 highest paying teams of any sport in the world, the top four are soccer (football) teams.  Two are from La Liga in Spain and Serie A in Italy, and two are from the English Premier League (aka: Barclay’s Premier League or EPL) in England.  Rounding out the top 5 highest paying athletic teams in the world are the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA (National Basketball Association).

Now, these numbers are strictly based on the salary that the club (team management) pays it’s players.  These figures do not take into account endorsements or other sources of income that usually follow world renowned athletes.  When you take those numbers into account, soccer players fall to the #3 and #4 spots, and when you include individual sports such as golf, tennis and boxing, soccer players fall to 8th and 9th in the top 10.  The great thing about endorsement income though, is that you don’t have to be particularity good at your sport to earn big money.  David Beckham, who is now in the twilight of his career and takes up the #8 spot on Forbes Highest Paid Athletes list, earns a meager $9 million annually from the LA Galaxy, but makes an additional $37 million in endorsements from such companies as Burger King and Samsung.

FC Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) has the highest payroll of any team, in any sport, anywhere in the world, at $217,014,221 per year, and $166,934 per week.

FC Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain) has the highest payroll of any team, in any sport, anywhere in the world, at $217,014,221 per year, and $166,934 per player per week.

Getting Paid to Play

The highest paying athletic team in the world is FC Barcelona and has an average salary of $8,680,569 a year, with each player earning about $166,934 a WEEK!

Second in line is AC Milan, from Italian professional league Serie A. It’s interesting to note that the New York Yankees and AC Milan have nearly identical payrolls, but the AC Milan players have higher individual salaries than the Yankees players.

The #3 spot on our list of highest paid teams is Manchester City, who just won the Premiership (EPL Championship) for the first time since 1968, thanks to the ability to pay for extraordinary talent.

How much do professional soccer players get paid?


  • Average annual player salary: $8,680,569
  • Average weekly player paycheck: $166,934
  • Total annual team payroll: $217,014,221


FC (Fútbol Club) Barcelona is more than a football (soccer) club.  It’s actually a sports club with teams competing in professional leagues of Basketball (since 1926), Handball (since 1942), Futsal (since 1978), and Roller Hockey (since 1942).

As a club, it has members that pay annual fees to belong.  Current membership is about 155,000, called “socis” or, “socios” (social members ) who each pay up to €140 annually for the privilege.  The club has a board of directors that governs the club, and the members elect a president of the board every four years.  The annual budget of the club is approved by randomly selected members who are appointed to serve as delegates to the general assembly.  Most Spanish clubs, including Real Madrid, are run in the same manner.

FC Barcelona members receive a variety of benefits, including:

  • up to 20% discount on tickets for most matches.
  • 5-10% off merchandise from FC Botiga, the club’s store.
  • free stadium and museum tours.
  • free access to open training sessions held at the Mini-Estadi
  • Free entrance to other FC Barcelona athletic events like roller hockey and futsal.

The current elected president of FC Barcelona is Sandro Rosell i Feliu, elected in 2010.

What Do You Get for the Money?

Domestic competitions

La Liga[137]

Copa del Rey[138]

Supercopa de España[139]

Copa Eva Duarte (the forerunner to the Supercopa de España)[140]

  • Winners (3): 1948, 1952, 1953[3]
    • Runners-up (2): 1949, 1951

Copa de la Liga[141]

European competitions

European Cup / UEFA Champions League[142]

European Cup Winners’ Cup / UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup[143]

Inter-Cities Fairs Cup

(the forerunner to the UEFA Europa League)(*)

European Super Cup / UEFA Super Cup[144]

(*) Non-UEFA competition

Worldwide competitions

FIFA Club World Cup[145]

Intercontinental Cup

  • Runners-up (1): 1992

Note: 14 players from FC Barcelona represented 5 different countries in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


  • Average annual player salary: $7,796,637
  • Average weekly player paycheck: $149,935
  • Total annual team payroll: $194,915,932


AC (Associazione Calcio) Milan is owned by former Prime Minister of Italy and media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.

What Do You Get for the Money?

One of the most successful soccer clubs in Italian history, AC Milan have won a total of 29 major trophies.  AC Milan is 2nd to Boca Juniors,[75]  as the most successful club in the world in terms of international competitions won, with a record of 14 European trophies and four World titles. AC Milan has earned the right to place a star on its jersey in recognition of the fact that it has won at least ten scudetti. In addition, the club is permanently allowed to display a multiple-winner badge on its shirt as it has won more than five European Championship Cups.[76]







  • Average annual player salary: $7,403,754
  • Average weekly player paycheck: $142,380
  • Total annual team payroll: $185,093,858


Manchester City Football Club was purchased by Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 and subsequently became one of the richest sports teams in the world.

What Do You Get for the Money?

While the history of Manchester City is long, they don’t have much in the way of a winning track record, when compared to teams like Chelsea FC, Mancheter United FC, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan.  However since the purchase of the team by the Abu Dhabi United Group, the team has won 2 major titles and the Community Shield.

Domestic competitions





  • Average annual player salary: $6,795,899
  • Average weekly player paycheck: $130,690
  • Total annual team payroll: $169,897,463


Chelsea Football Club is owned by Fordstam Ltd, which is owned by Russian Billionaire, Roman Abramovich.

What Do You Get for the Money?

Domestic competitions




  • Winners (1): 1998
    • Runners-up (1): 2012

On the Other Hand

While these salaries seem incredible, Spain, Italy, and England are also very wealthy countries.  However, Italy’s, Spain’s and England’s aren’t even the highest paying top tier leagues (at this writing – September, 2012).  The Chinese Super League has stepped up it’s competition for international players to boost it’s football (soccer) influence in the world, and is enticing international players to play in their league with incredible salaries (Didier Drogba just signed a salary for $300,000 a WEEK, but it’s not without controversy) to enhance the level of local competition, and thereby improve their own national players.

On the other hand, America’s Major League Soccer has salaries that average around $50k annually, and many countries in Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and South America have clubs and leagues that are termed “professional”, but the players need other employment just to feed themselves.

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Comments (16)

  1. Don PItoLoco says:

    Thank you for the great information!

  2. jone says:

    its not not called soccer it´s called FOOTBALL!!!


    • Editor says:

      Check your history – It was called “soccer” FIRST. “Football” was a general term used to reference ANY GAME played on foot, as other games were played on horseback. Soccer is an acronym for SOCiEty Rules football, differentiating it from other football games, like rugby.

      So, in a nutshell, educated people call it “SOCCER”.

  3. hike says:

    How much do they get paid in general not on teams but just a average soccer player

  4. noah harrington says:

    I’m sorry, but this list is legit. Messi, Ronaldo, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and some dude who I think is a boxer are the top 5 paid athletes. This list isn’t delusional, and the bro players don’t really come close to the soccer stars.

  5. Al Ggin says:

    NBA Salary : http://espn.go.com/nba/salaries

    This is without endorsement, or playoffs >

    82 games divided by 30 Mil : 365,853 thousand per game.

  6. Tim says:

    You are delusional the NFL and other professional sport playing athletes surpass the professional soccer salaries easily

    • Editor says:

      Who is delusional? Facts are facts. Soccer is the #1 spectator sport in the world – The world, of course, being everything OUTSIDE of New England.

      Go to JFK and hop a plane to any major city in Europe and you’ll see the truth.

      • Stig says:

        Its simply not true at all. Renaldo is the highest paid soccer player at 17.5m a year. He and Messi are far away the highest earners in their sport in the world. There is 10 Quarterbacks alone in the NFL who’s salary dwarfs that. That’s one position. There’s more than 20 players in the NBA who’s salary is higher. There’s nearly 50 baseball players with higher salaries.

        As for highest payout for a team? FC Barcelona you quoted at 217m? The LA Dodgers for example, are 235 million.

      • Rhye says:

        Great article! Some things should be addressed, though:

        Worldwide the money in futbol is huge, but individual player salaries in futbol (soccer) are simply not the highest. There are likely teams with the highest average player salaries, but that is entirely different than in which sports the highest individual salaries reside.

        NBA top salaries exceed $22 mil per year, similar for NFL. MLB salaries dwarf both….and that is despite baseball’s plummeting popularity in the USA.

        • Editor says:

          This article is full of FACTS, but was written 2 years ago. We’re updating this article on another site, so keep an eye open. Thanks for your input.

  7. Kritik Dube says:

    hey i am doing a research assignment for school, and i was wondering whether the dollar values are in the American dollar or Australian dollar. thank you the site was very helpful.

    • Editor says:

      All monetary references are in American dollars, unless otherwise stated. I’ll do a better job of clarifying in the future.

      Thanks for reading!


  8. lee stanley says:

    i love soccer #1 fan of barca i need to be on the team it is my dream i love soccer and good enough to make a pro team.

  9. Andres Canal says:

    Im The Biggest Barcelona Fan Ever ! And My Dream Is To Be A Proffesional Soccer Player, If I Had A Chance To Be In Fc Barcelona Later In Life It Would Be A Dream Come True ! Well Im 14 And Im Hoping This Opportunity Will Come Soon.

    -Your Number 1 Fan
    Andres Canal

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