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World’s Five Highest Paid Football Players Lost $173M in Market Value, Messi Tops with a $66M Drop

World’s Five Highest Paid Football Players Lost $173M in Market Value, Messi Tops with a $66M Drop

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the entire football eco-system, causing considerable drops in clubs’ revenues and their players’ market value.

According to data presented by, the combined market value of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Mohamed Salah, as the world’s five highest-paid football players, plunged by $173 million in the last year.

Related: 5 Eagles Whose Market Values Have Increased

Messi Lost $66M in Market Value, more than Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo Combined

The Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi backs up his talent with the highest earnings. The famous right-winger, who is considered by many to be the greatest player on the planet, tops Forbes’ list of the highest-paid football players. Messi makes an annual salary of $126 million at the Nou Camp, although his contract expires at the end of the 2020/21 campaign.

However, the world’s highest-paid football player also witnessed the biggest drop in market value in 2020. The TransferMarkt data show his valuation plunged from $154 million in December 2019 to $88 million in January 2021. Statistics also indicate Messi’s market value has constantly been falling since May 2018, when it peaked at €180 million.

The Portuguese superstar and the most popular athlete on the planet, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the second highest-paid football player globally. His Juventus contract brings him an annual salary of $117 million, $9 million less than Messi.

However, the Juventus forward also witnessed a substantial market value drop last year, with the figure going down from $82.5 million in December 2019 to $66 million in December 2020.

Neymar set a world-record with his $263 million transfer to PSG from Barcelona in 2017. With an annual salary of $96 million, the Brazilian footballer ranked third on the Forbes list. However, the TransferMarkt data show his market value plunged by $35.2 million in 2020, the second-largest drop among the top five players. In December 2019, the 21-year-old was valued at $176 million. This figure slumped to $140.8 million in October last year.

Kylian Mbappe and Mohamed Salah Lost $55M in Combined Market Value

The next generation leader, Kylian Mbappe confirmed his place among the best players on the planet by scoring four times as France won the 2018 World Cup. His $215 million worth transfer from Monaco to Paris Saint Germain in 2018, which made him the sports’ highest-paid teenager, remains the second most expensive in history.

The 22-year-old, who ranked fourth on the Forbes list, makes $42 million per season. However, his market value dropped by $22 million last year.

As the fifth football player on this list, Mohamed Salah made $37 million last season after leading Liverpool to its first Premier League title in 30 years. Although the Egyptian footballer has the highest win rate of any league player to have appeared in more than 100 matches, his market value also dropped significantly last year. In December 2019, Salah was valued at $165 million. In the next ten months, this figure fell to $132 million.

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