Cristiano Ronaldo hardly needs anymore blessings. He already has $18 million to be thankful for.
By Kim DeRaedt
Soccer is supposed to be the one sport that transcends cultures and crosses borders almost entirely unscathed and unchanged. It’s a simple game with a round ball and two goals. Throw on a kit, shinguards, and boots, and you’re ready to take the field. Barring substitutions, you’ll play for 90 minutes regardless of if you are a midfielder in Turkey or a goalkeeper in Argentina. A player who scores two goals in Mexico may feel as if he has accomplished a similar feat as a player who scores two goals in Italy, but as we’ll see, no two soccer players are created equal. In fact, after analyzing salaries from various leagues, it may very well seem as if some of these players are playing an entirely different game! After all, how else can you justify disparities eclipsing $10 million?
Comparing apples to apples, take a look at how the value of an “elite” player varies between the MLS and the rest of the soccer world. Clearly, somebody is confused!
MLS’s 5 highest-paid players
1 David Beckham (Los Angeles) – $6,500,000
2 Thierry Henry (New York) – $5,600,000
3 Rafael Márquez (New York) – $5,554,000
4 Landon Donovan ( Los Angeles) – $2,127,778
5 Juan Pablo Ángel (New York) – $1,918,000
The world’s 5 highest-paid players
1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – £11.3million
2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona) – £10.4million
3 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – £9.1million
4 Samuel Eto’o (Internazionale) – £9.1million
5 Kaka (Real Madrid) – £8.7million
As if the difference isn’t evident enough, let’s throw in the conversion rate to further highlight the disparity. We’ll use £1 GBP = $1.5956 USD. This means that Cristiano Ronaldo rakes in nothing shy of $18,030,280, and even Kaka takes home a $13,881,720 purse. Alessandro Del Piero is the 50th highest-paid soccer player in the world. The Juventus star earns £4.1 million, or $6,541,960. This is slightly more than Beckham who earns 3x as much as the fourth highest paid MLS player, his teammate Landon Donovan.
Now let’s compare apples to oranges. An overwhelming 90 of the 411 MLS players earn the minimum salary of $40,000. This means that Cristiano Ronaldo earns over 450x more money than MLS players stuck in a minimum wage contract! The average salary in MLS is $173,491, while the median salary falls to $92,375. Beckham, who earns almost 3x less than Cristiano Ronaldo, makes 70x more than the middle paid MLS player, Carlos Mendes of the New York Red Bulls. Find out more!