Soccer is one of the most lucrative sports in the world. Due to its popularity attracts a lot of attention, investment, and fans, consequently creating a hot stream of cash inflow.

Myriad sponsorships deals, jersey sales, viewing rights, and ticket money are some of the major income sources that make soccer the multi-billion dollar industry it is. 

There are many ways soccer teams and players make money. 

On average, soccer players are some of the highest earners in sports. 

While there is a large disparity in the income of elite players and less recognized players, being a soccer player is certainly one of the most lucrative professions. This article will discuss how much soccer players make, and discuss the factors that affect how much soccer players make.

How Do Soccer Players Make Money?

Players make money in so many ways and often have multiple sources of income. While there are so many money-making avenues, the most common sources include the following. 

Salaries

On average, soccer players have multiple sources of income but for the majority of soccer players, their primary source of income is their salary.

Players get paid salaries by their respective clubs. Payments are commonly made on a weekly basis. 

Many players who are part of the respective national teams also receive salaries from their countries. 

These salaries are often negotiated at the signing of contracts and may be reviewed at contract renewals. 

Bonuses and incentives

Soccer players receive lots of bonuses. These bonuses are often stipulated prior to signing a contract. Bonuses may be paid for goals. Players may get paid for scoring goals, meeting certain goal targets, or scoring in specific competitions. 

While goals are the most common source of player bonuses, other factors can also lead to players receiving bonuses. 

For instance, goalkeepers and defenders may receive a bonus for keeping clean sheets. Midfielders may receive bonuses for assists. 

Apart from the teams, governing bodies of various competitions may also attach certain rewards to goals, assists, fair play, or clean sheets.

Players who participate in certain competitions also get paid for participating and may get extra for winning the competition. 

Players get rewards for fair play or for emerging as players in a match or tournament. 

Incentives may also be attached to certain milestones. Players may receive bonuses for staying a certain duration at a particular team. 

These bonuses and incentives may range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars. 

For instance, an agreement made between the Chilean player Alexis Sanchez and Manchester United when he moved from Arsenal to the club saw him rake in a staggering £75,000 per appearance. 

Besides his basic salary, he was also promised £ 2 million if he was able to achieve 40 goals and assists over the course of a season. 

Elite players receive mouth-watering bonuses and incentives. 

Sign-on fees

Sign-on fees are paid at the discretion of the club. Players often have personal negotiations with clubs that may see them paid a certain percentage of the transfer fee. 

While this is not always the case, clubs use it as a means to woo players. A good example was when Antonio Rudiger joined Real Madrid on a free transfer. He was paid a hefty sign-on fee in addition to his agreed wages.

Sponsorship deals

Many brands pay soccer players to serve as brand ambassadors.

Rival brands often have to jostle and try to outbid each other to get players to represent their brands. 

For instance, the Portuguese maestro, Cristiano Ronaldo, is currently paid a staggering £14.7million by sportswear giants Nike on a yearly basis. 

While his Argentinean rival, Lionel Messi, receives an eye-popping £25 million from Adidas as a brand ambassador after signing a lifetime contract with the sportswear brand. 

Many players sign sponsorship deals with a wide variety of brands that see them rake in millions annually. 

Considering all these potential sources of income, on average, players earn a decent sum.  

Furthermore, it is also common for clubs to offer players a bonus in the aftermath of every match. For example, some players are paid per goal they score, or if the goalkeeper keeps a clean sheets (doesn’t concede a goal).

How much do soccer players make? Kylian Mbappe PSG contract
(Photo by Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

What Is The Average Soccer Player Salary?

The main source of income for an average soccer player is their salary. 

In professional soccer, players’ salaries depend on the level of the club they play in or their country’s average wage bill. 

Players can earn anywhere from $2000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars a week. 

Salaries also depend on a number of factors like age, player ability, and negotiations. 

In the MLS, the average MLS player salary is around $312,470 a year.

While the average USL player salary is $43,426 on an annual basis. The top 25 percent in the USL earn around $62,500 per year.

Who are some of the highest-paid MLS players?
  • Javier Hernandez who plays for L.A Galaxy earns about $6 million a year. 
  • Gonzalo Higuain, who plies his trade with Inter Miami, rakes in $5.79 million annually. 
  • Alejandro Pozuelo, Josef Martinez, Carlos Vela, and a host of other players also join the list of the highest earners in the MLS. 
  • The only American among the top 15 highest earners in the MLS is the New England Revolution’s player Jozy Altidore, who was a former national team striker. He earns an estimated $4.26 million. 

In Europe’s top leagues, players are paid a lot more on average. 

In the English Premier League, the average player salary is about £2.29million a year. 

The highest earning player in Europe is Lionel Messi, arguably the best footballer of all time. He currently plays with the French outfit Paris Saint Germain. He earns around $1 million a week. 

Followed closely by his teammate Neymar Junior who earns about $700,000 a week. 

Some of the highest earners in Europe include Kyllian Mbappe, who also plays for PSG. 

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United, David De Gea of Manchester United, Karim Benzema of Real Madrid, and Mohammed Salah of Liverpool are a few of the players who earn mouth-watering salaries running into hundreds of thousands of dollars weekly. 

The average senior roster soccer player’s salary in Europe is around $74,000 a week. Players in Europe’s lower leagues average around £15,000 a week. 

Soccer Teams’ Average Salary bill

The top clubs across continents splash millions of dollars on players’ wages. 

The top 4 clubs with the highest salary bill in the world are; 

  1. Paris Saint Germain of France with a salary bill of $345,097,100 per year.
  2. Real Madrid of Spain pays around $240,463,113 per year to senior players.
  3. Barcelona of Spain has a wage bill of $224,919,014 per year.
  4. Bayern of Germany dishes out a yearly salary of $219,943,319 per year.

On average, Europe’s biggest leagues pay the most in the world. 

There is a larger salary disparity in the USA than in Europe because star players are often lured to the US with very attractive payment packages. 

The average yearly salary bill for a team in the MLS is $8,170,454.

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