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Top 10 Richest Football Defenders In The World

Football is a tremendously successful sport and the beautiful game has produced some of the richest football players and athletes of all time. Being one of the most popular sports today, more than 250 million players worldwide participate in the game.

Given its prominence, it’s safe to say that many football players were able to land lucrative contracts for millions of pounds with some illustrious sports organisations and clubs.

With many footballers landing contracts outside of the sport for renowned brands such as Nike, Gucci, and Puma, footballers have had the chance to make a sizable living.

10. Faiq Bolkiah – £16 billion

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Faiq Bolkiah plays for Thai club Chonburi and was at the academies of English sides Southampton, Leicester and Chelsea. The footballer grew up in England after being born in the United States.

9. Mathieu Flamini – £11.2 billion

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The unheralded former Arsenal player has done very well for himself after football as he is the co-founder of GF Biochemicals, the first company in the world to be able to mass-produce levulinic acid. The acid is a molecule made from plant waste that can be used as a substitute for petrol.

8. Cristiano Ronaldo – £403 million

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With an Instagram following of 527 million, Ronaldo can attract huge sums for his endorsements. He’s been one of the richest football players in world for over a decade. Arguably he is now a more valuable commodity to corporate business than he is to football managers.

His departure from Manchester United before the 2022 World Cup left a sour taste in his mouth, and his dream of lifting the famous trophy in Qatar also ended in tears.

7. David Beckham – £322 million

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A worldwide superstar, the Inter Miami co-owner came through the Manchester United academy with the Class of 92. Beckham was a Galactico at Real Madrid and also played for AC Milan, LA Galaxy and Paris Saint-Germain.

His marriage to Victoria ‘Posh Spice’ Beckham helped him become a fashion icon. The global icon continues to be in demand long after he retires from playing.

His endorsements include H&M, Tudor, Haig Whiskey, Armani, and Breitling and he was reportedly paid £10 million to be an ambassador for the Qatar World Cup.

6. Lionel Messi – £322 million

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World Cup winner Messi has lit up the game since making his professional debut in 2004 and claimed almost 1,000 goal contributions at Barcelona before moving to PSG in the summer of 2021.

A dazzling dribbler, Messi is considered to be the greatest player of all time. However, in this particular list, he finds himself behind rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

His contract at PSG is worth a reported €3.375 million a month, plus he’s also got long-term deals with Adidas, Pepsi, MasterCard and Budweiser. Now with a World Cup under his belt, Messi has probably reached the pinnacle of his career on the pitch.

5. Dave Whelan – £177 million

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The former Wigan Athletic owner was a full-back with Blackburn and Crewe before making his fortune with JJB Sports. A leg break in the FA Cup final helped his transition to the retail business.

He already had a market stall before he hung up his boots at the age of 30. He bought Wigan Athletic in 1995 and helped them rise from Division Three to the Premier League, winning the FA Cup in 2013.

4. Neymar – £161 million

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A worldwide superstar, the PSG winger has won almost everything there is to be won at the club level, apart from the Champions League. Instantly recognisable around the world, he was made the world’s highest-paid player when moving to Paris.

Add in endorsements, massive sportswear deals with Nike, Puma, and two film appearances all add up to a mighty £161 million.

3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – £153 million

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Closing in on 600 club goals, Zlatan’s career spans AC Milan, Manchester United, Barcelona, PSG, and LA Galaxy. It’s also seen him win more than 30 trophies.

Even at the age of 41, Zlatan is still performing at the top level with AC Milan in Serie A. Massive salaries, a hugely successful autobiography and never-ending endorsements have seen Zlatan amass a fortune to rival his ego.

2. Ronaldo Nazário – £129 million

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The original Ronaldo, or R9 as he is now called, was one of the best finishers the world has ever seen. He hit 295 goals in a club career that took in Inter and AC Milan plus Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Scored 62 for Brazil with whom he also won the World Cup and has gone on to forge a successful career in business. The majority shareholder in Real Valladolid, he also owns the Brazilian side Cruzeiro.

1. Kylian Mbappe – £121 million

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As one of the top talents in the beautiful game, the 24-year-old is already one of the richest football players in the world. Mbappe signed a contract extension in May 2022, which reportedly will take home £630m in gross salary over the three-year deal.

He will also collect a £180m signing-on bonus, which he’ll get even if he leaves before 2025. Oh and don’t forget his £69m loyalty bonus. His healthy net worth includes deals with Nike, EA Sports and Hublot, but expect that to increase as he now has much greater power over his image rights.

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