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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).

Female Soccer Salaries

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?

[su_tabs active=”4″][su_tab title=”FC Barcelona”]


  • 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.

[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”AC Milan”]


  • 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]






[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”Manchester City”]


  • 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




[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”Chealsea FC”]


  • 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.


About Author

Mike Slatton is a 2nd generation American youth soccer coach since 1984, and the son of one of the nation's first female licensed youth soccer coaches (Anita Slatton, 1979). He's also a professional soccer scout, a player since 1977, and the father of three adult and teenage children who all play or have played the game. "My job as a youth soccer coach is to develop detail oriented problem solvers who can react quickly under pressure. This relates to life - not just soccer."


  1. Does a player get paid whether he plays or not, or sits on the bench. Example, Yaya Toure of Manchester city is reportedly paid $250k/week but has not played but one game this season, does it mean he is not getting the 250,000 big ones?

    • Players get paid whether they’re on the bench or on the field. Certain bonuses, though, are dependent on the player’s on-field performance.

  2. I have long had the belief that there should be a time limit at the end of a game whereby no more substitutions can be made …eg: 10 minutes from the 90 minute mark.
    This practice of changing players with only minutes left are no good to either players and /or especially FANS, just to waste time!!!!!

  3. Excellent article. Lots of numbers. I like numbers. You are an excellent writer. Great job. Keep up the good work. Me love you long time!

    • 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”.

      • It is actually called Futbol not football. Futbol is what the Futbol community has been calling “soccer” ever since the game started up.

      • That makes perfect sense, actually. I always wondered where the term came from. Thank you for educating everyone in the French speaking world.

      • Thinking more about it, I feel that America will one day dominate the game. The MLS is definitely on the right track. In my lifetime I’m confident that I will see the United States whip the crap out of France in a World Cup contest. I’ll even wager to say that the new Orland City Lions could even be very competitive with my team – Marseille.

        Ha ha ha. I love this website!

      • Well I’m quite educated, and I call it football. Sarcasm aside, I think that educated people in Europe call it football, and educated people in America call it both, depending on their background. Educated people in the good ole USA may also call that silly gridiron game football , and have no idea about the rugby football background that university students took from Scotland and butchered into a game that rarely uses feet at all. Calling it soccer anywhere outside of North America instantly brands you as American, making your comments and opinions about the Beautiful Game irrelevant anyway.

    • In Canada and America it’s called soccer. It’s just how we say it. It’s just like {po-tay-toe} {po-ta-toe} it’s the same thing said differently, even like fries and chips. I know that one because my cousin always said “do you want chips?” he comes back with fries. And i ask him if this is some kind of joke but it isn’t because everyone say things differently.

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  5. 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.

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

      Thanks for reading!


  6. 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.

  7. Andres Canal on

    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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