We all know that football players representing the best teams earn top dollar. In this latest report, we analyse data for the recent 2021-2 season. The SportingPedia editorial team ranked the top 10 highest earners; those receiving the largest pay checks for this season. Combined with playing time data, we were able to calculate the actual amount of money each of these top 10 players received per minute playing on the pitch.
- The two highest paid players per minute last season were part of Real Madrid
- Gareth Bale bagged over £90,000 for every minute of playing time in the 21/22 season
- The cost of Kylian Mbappe playing one minute of football for his team was 17 times less than what Bale was paid
- Oscar is the only player on the list not performing in Europe
- PSG were paying £36,366 for every minute with the Neymar-Mbappe-Messi trio on the pitch, while Real Madrid had to fork out £116,616 for having Bale & Hazard at the same time
- Leo Messi’s minute cost £17,381, while Cristiano Ronaldo was pocketing £6,215 for every 60 seconds on the field
Below, you will find the 10 players with highest annual salaries. It also shows how much time on the pitch each of them spent and the average amount in pound sterling they were paid per minute. Data comes from Sportbible, Transfermarkt, and Goal Serve to come up with the list of the players with the most lucrative financial packages.
Some of the numbers involved…
The summer transfer window is the best time for the teams to improve their on-field performances. They can do this by signing new players or letting players go; the aim being to improve their financial situation. Executives and managers strive to take good or bad decisions by acquiring or selling a certain player. But the outcome is only known after the season ends.
For example, Real Madrid allowed Gareth Bale to stay until the expiration of his contract. This cost Los Blancos another £27.5 million in total. Even more staggering is the fact that the Welshman recorded only 290 minutes of game time across the whole campaign. Even though Real won La Liga and the Champions League, this was poor business by the club’s president Florentino Perez; each minute with Bale on the field costing Real Madrid a mammoth £94,676.
Last term, the most decorated British footballer pocketed a hefty salary – 28.8% higher than that of Kylian Mbappe’s annual income with PSG. The Frenchman’s contribution to his team’s cause, however, was far more significant. He racked up 3,912 minutes of game time; costing the Parisians less than £5,500 per 60 seconds on the field. In other words, one minute of Bale playing football cost over 17 times more than one of Kylian Mbappe.
Football’s Highest Earners in 2021-2
10. David De Gea (Manchester United) – £375,000 per week; 46 games played – 4,140 playing minutes; £4,710 per playing minute
9. Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona/Aston Villa): £380,000 per week; 35 games played; 1,946 playing minutes; £10,154 per playing minute
8. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid): £381,000 per week; 23 games played; 903 playing minutes; £21,940 per playing minute
7. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City): £385,000 per week; 45 games played; 3,338 playing minutes; £5,997 per playing minute
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United): £385,000 per week; 39 games played; 3,221 playing minutes; £6,215 per playing minute
5. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain): £410,000 per week; 46 games played; 3,912 playing minutes; £5,449 per playing minute
4. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): £528,000 per week; 7 games played; 290 playing minutes; £94,676 per playing minute
3. Oscar (Shanghai Port): £540,000 per week; 22 games played; 1,854 playing minutes; £15,124 per playing minute
2. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain): £606,000 per week; 28 games played; 2,328 minutes of playing time; £13,536 per playing minute
1. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain): £960,000 per week; 34 games played; 2,872 minutes of playing time; £17,381 per playing minute
Gareth Bale received £94,676 pounds per playing minute. Meanwhile, the other 9 combined received £100,506 per 60 seconds on the pitch. It is definitely not the Welshman’s fault for being overpaid. It was the player’s agent who negotiated with Florentino Perez for a new contract back in the day. And it’s the agent who succeeded in getting his client a mega deal.
“The team’s manager is the one who selects the starting line-up before games, and executives and presidents are those who negotiate incoming or outgoing transfers. Having said that, if there is someone to blame for spending too much, it is definitely not the player. Elite players are responsible only for being fully dedicated to their respective clubs and to showcase 100% of their abilities. Sometimes even that comes under question, as proven by Gareth Bale who came out celebrating a Welsh victory with a flag stating: “Wales, Golf, Madrid in that order”
– Sean Foster, journalist at SportingPedia, added to the matter.