We’re living in 2019. Footballers aren’t just paid to be footballers, they’re paid to be celebrities as well.
The top stars (almost) all have a carefully curated Instagram profile to interact with their fans, promote their club and, most importantly, earn them millions.
Brands pay big-name players for sponsored posts to advertise their product to their millions and millions of adoring followers across the world. What a time to be alive.
The people at HopperHQ have crunched the numbers for their annual Instagram Rich List, and here are the nine highest-earning footballers per post on Instagram in 2019.
9. Mohamed Salah – $165,000
With nearly 33m followers to his name, Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has truly developed into one of football’s biggest stars.
With that following, he is estimated to earn around $165,000 for one sponsored post on Instagram, which actually leaves him 12th on the list of highest-earning sports stars worldwide, just behind Conor McGregor, but ahead of Floyd Mayweather and Bella Hadid.
If he continues to score goals, expect that social media following to grow, which means the Egyptian’s earnings will continue to rise as well.
8. Luis Suarez – $184,000
Next up is Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who has accumulated over 35m followers on his Instagram account.
With a slightly larger audience than Salah, Suarez commands a higher figure for each of his posts, and he is estimated by HopperHQ to take home $184,000 per sponsored post.
The Uruguayan is one of the world’s finest in his position, and a few more La Liga titles would only see his profile grow even more.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – $200,000
It speaks volumes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s popularity that he can feature so highly on this list without even playing in a major European league.
The LA Galaxy superstar boasts a following of just under 39m, and he is thought to earn around $200,000 for each of his sponsored posts – putting him ahead of cricketer Virat Kohli.
As one of the most charismatic players around, it’s not hard to see why Ibrahimovic is so popular online.
6. Gareth Bale – $218,000
Things might not be going great on the pitch right now for Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale, but it’s safe to say that his Instagram account is doing pretty nicely.
With just under 42m followers to his name, Bale is one of the most popular sports players around, and he commands an estimated $218,000 per post.
Now, how much money is it going to take to fix Los Blancos’ problems?
5. Ronaldinho – $256,000
Former Barcelona and AC Milan star Ronaldinho left Europe in 2011 and retired in early 2018, but he still remains one of the most popular footballers of all time.
The electrifying Brazilian has accumulated over 48m followers, despite dropping out of the limelight by the time Instagram came around in late 2010. He’s so popular that he can demand around $256,000 for one post, apparently.
An indisputable legend of the game, Ronaldinho may have been even higher on this list if his career had come a bit later on.
Despite his obvious clout, the notorious trickster and carnival lover doesn’t command quite the same price tag as the likes of actress and model Priyanka Chopra ($271,000).
4. David Beckham – $357,000
Another retired star, former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star David Beckham is one of the most influential and adored people on the planet.
That’s to his following of almost 59m, Beckham is thought to be able to command a fee of around $357,000 for just one post online. Imagine.
The Inter Miami owner’s reputation is expected to grow even more once the team start playing, but it’s a huge ask for him to beat the top three on this list.
3. Lionel Messi – $648,000
Has Lionel Messi ever finished third in anything? As one of the greatest players in the history of the game, the Argentine was always going to be high up here.
The gap between Beckham and Messi’s respective followings is huge. The Barcelona man has around 132m fans on Instagram, and that audience means he can ask for a huge $648,000 per post, more than Kendall Jenner ($611,000) who famously has never even won a Ballon d’Or.
However, if you can believe it, there are two players who can command even more.
2. Neymar – $722,000
Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar may have a smaller following than Messi, but that doesn’t stop him from taking home more money.
With 126m followers to his name, Neymar still commands a fee of around $722,000 for one sponsored post, which is a sign of his overwhelming popularity.
As the world’s most expensive footballer, Neymar was a shoo-in for a high finish on this list. Can you imagine where he would be at if he had joined either Barcelona or Real Madrid during the summer?
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $975,000
Could it be anyone else?
Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is the most popular footballer around on social media, and his huge following of nearly 185m is all the proof you need of that. With that army of fans, Ronaldo takes home a whopping $975,000 for just one post online.
The definition of celebrity, Ronaldo has built an unprecedented platform online, just as he has on the pitch.
In the overall rich list, he places third only to Ariana Grande and Kylie Jenner, with the latter the only person (supposedly) to top $1,000,000 per post.