Ronaldo receives rapturous welcome from Al Nassr fans
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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are perhaps the two greatest football players of all time but their success on the field has not brought them the same financial rewards that others have claimed in the business world instead. Here Express Sport looks at the five richest footballers in the world with the leader worth over 10 times more than the legendary duo combined.
5. David Beckham (£371m)
The England legend makes up the top five as he continues to be one of the most recognisable faces in the world despite retiring from football in 2013. He is the co-owner of MLS side Inter Miami and continues to be a brand ambassador for the likes of H&M, Adidas, Diageo, and L’Oreal.
He has also made investments through his company DB Ventures Limited and received a reported windfall of around £200m last year after agreeing to sell off 55 per cent to Authentic Brands Group.
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4. Cristiano Ronaldo (£412m)
The Portugal captain is fourth on the list as he is once again pipped by Messi. In addition to his £175m a year Al-Nassr contract, he also has big sponsorship deals with Nike, KFC and Samsung among others contributing to his huge fortune.
Like Messi, he also has his own luxury clothing and accessories range under the brand CR7 while he makes significant amounts through hospitality and his hotel chain CR7 Pestana.
3. Lionel Messi (£511million)
Messi currently earns substantially less with PSG than Ronaldo does with Al-Nassr annually but his net worth dwarfs his old rival. He has huge sponsorship deals with Mastercard, Budweiser and most notably Adidas were he has signed a long-term contract. He also has a lucrative deal to be the face of the Saudi Arabia Tourist Board.
He has made many sensible investments away from the field too and has his own clothing line Messi store and hotel chain MiM.
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2. Mathieu Flamini (£8.25bn)
The Frenchman was hit and miss across two separate stints with Arsenal but has enjoyed far greater success in the world of business. The 39-year-old is the co-founder of GF Biochemicals, a leading producer of levulinic acids and derivatives, and the company have helped him to significantly add to his earnings.
He is believed to be worth over £8bn off as a result of its success far more than he was able to make while at Arsenal. He also featured for AC Milan, Crystal Palace, Getafe and Marseille during his career.
1. Faiq Bolkiah (£16.5billion)
The richest footballer in the world is lesser-known midfielder Bolkiah. The 24-year-old is the son of the Prince of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, with his family one of the richest in the entire world.
Despite his wealth, he has been desperate to make it as a footballer and spent time in the academies of Southampton, Chelsea, and Leicester but after failing to truly impress he joined Portuguese side Martimo in 2020 instead.
He now represents Chonburi in Thailand, making 15 appearances and scoring twice so far this season while he also won six caps for the Brunei national team between 2016 and 2018.
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