Ballon d'Or 2023: Football's Ultimate Rich List
As the 2023 Ballon d'Or ceremony approaches, football enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating who will be crowned the best player in the world. Let's delve into the financial success of some past winners and notable players.
Cristiano Ronaldo - £363 Million
Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, is not only the world's most followed athlete on social media, with over 876 million followers, but he is also the highest-paid sportsman. The Portuguese star's estimated net worth is an astonishing £363 million. In 2022, he signed a lucrative two-and-a-half-year deal with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr, earning a staggering £62 million annually. Coupled with various commercial opportunities, his earnings could soar to £173 million each year. Additionally, Ronaldo boasts a lifetime contract with Nike valued at an incredible £1 billion. His business empire includes hotels, underwear, CR7 blankets, facial fitness devices, and shampoo.
Lionel Messi - £105 Million
Considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, Lionel Messi has already won the Ballon d'Or seven times and is a strong contender this year. Moving from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain to David Beckham's Inter Miami, Messi is believed to earn £35-£47 million per year. As of early 2023, his net worth was estimated at £105 million. Sponsorship and brand deals contribute significantly to his earnings. His lifetime contract with Adidas, worth £20.4 million annually, and global ambassadorship with Pepsi are among his endorsements. Messi also ventured into the fashion industry with a luxury clothing label in collaboration with Ginny Hilfiger.
Kaka - £74 Million
Kaka, the last player to beat Ronaldo and Messi to the Ballon d'Or, is reported to have a fortune of £74 million. The Brazilian legend won the award in 2007, and his remarkable career includes setting up the winning goal for Milan in the 2007 Champions League final. Kaka's financial success is attributed, in part, to his massive social media following, with over 22.7 million fans on Instagram. He has secured lucrative deals with brands like OPPO, American Tourister, and Playstation.
Karim Benzema - £62.5 Million
Karim Benzema, the 2022 Ballon d'Or winner, boasts a wealth of approximately £62.5 million. The former Real Madrid player earned £275,000 weekly before departing in June after 14 years. His move to Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad comes with a jaw-dropping weekly salary of £3.3 million. Benzema's taste for luxury was evident when he attended last year's awards wearing a Richard Mille watch worth £435,000.
Michael Owen - £54.4 Million
Michael Owen, who claimed the Ballon d'Or in 2001, has amassed a reported fortune of £54.4 million. The former striker's illustrious career spanned clubs like Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United, and Stoke City before retiring in 2013. Since retirement, he has transitioned into a pundit role with BT Sport and ventured into horse racing with Manor House Stables.
Zinedine Zidane - £52 Million
Zinedine Zidane, the 1998 Ballon d'Or winner, inspired his team to World Cup victory that year. Following his successful playing career, he delved into management with Real Madrid. His net worth stands at £52 million, aided by endorsement deals with brands like Adidas, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Dior.
Luís Figo - £41 Million
Portuguese player Luís Figo's high-profile transfer from Barcelona to Real Madrid in 2000, the same year he won the Ballon d'Or, set a world record fee. Earning £3.74 million annually during his five-year stint at Real Madrid, Figo's net worth today is approximately £41 million. He joined UEFA in 2017 in an advisory role, promoting its competitions.
Fabio Cannavaro - £36 Million
Fabio Cannavaro, the 2006 Ballon d'Or winner and a World Cup champion, is worth £36 million. Following his illustrious playing career, Cannavaro ventured into coaching and managed teams in the Middle East and China. His time in the Chinese Super League made him one of the highest-paid managers globally, earning £10.6 million annually.
Ronaldinho - Unclear
Brazilian World Cup winner Ronaldinho, who clinched the Ballon d'Or in 2005, has faced financial challenges despite previous net worth reports of up to £80 million. Crushing debts and legal troubles have taken a toll on his finances. Ronaldinho's endorsement deals with companies like Nike, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, EA Sports, and Danone have been impacted. He now works for sponsorship and development firm Nooke and co-founded Footsider, an application that digitizes football recruitment.
As the world eagerly awaits the 2023 Ballon d'Or ceremony, these players' journeys to financial success provide a glimpse into the glamorous yet complex lives of football's greatest stars.