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The Reality of Wages in the World of Football, Far from the Superstars

While professional soccer can be likened to a gold mine for some of the sport's stars, the reality for the majority of players is far from the luxury that is highlighted.

Reading Time : 1 minut(s) - | Updated on 13-02-2024 10:41 | Published on 16-01-2024 18:44 

A minimum wage... set at the French minimum wage level

It is common to assume that becoming a professional footballer equates financial success. However, for most players, the earnings generated are close to the standard wage level for average workers.

According to the minimums set by the French Football Federation (FFF) for the 2023-2024 season, the base salary is 1747.20 euros gross per month for a player in Regional 1, and 1943.50 euros gross for a footballer in National 1. This is comparable to the minimum wage.

Granted, these amounts are likely to increase, taking into account various factors such as the player's experience, performance, and the club's budget. This could also include potential bonuses tied to sports performance, or other benefits in kind. But we're still far from the levels one might expect.

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The stars earn over 100 million euros

A handful of soccer prodigies, on the other hand, falls into a unique pay bracket that breaks all records. Not only are these football superstars extremely well compensated for their athletic prowess, but they also benefit from highly lucrative contracts with brands and sponsors.

According to the 2023 ranking by the Forbes magazine, the highest paid player in the world remains Cristiano Ronaldo with a whopping total compensation of 248 million € per year, followed by Lionel Messi with his 128 million €.

Neymar, a notable figure in Brazilian football now playing for Al-Hilal, comes close with an annual 106 million €, as does Kylian Mbappé of PSG, who earns 105 million € a year. Karim Benzema rounds up the top five with 101 million €. The rest of the top 10 consists of renowned players such as Erling Haaland, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Kevin De Bruyne, and Harry Kane, who earn between 35 and 51 million € annually.

And the wages in women's soccer?

The landscape of women's football is far less lucrative. In France, Paris Saint-Germain places two of its players at the top of the ranking. Marie-Antoinette Katoto was recently crowned the highest paid player in France, with a gross monthly salary estimated at 50,000 euros, about 600,000 € annually.

In second position, we find her teammate Lieke Martens, who earns 42,000 euros per month. This domination is partially shared with the team from Olympique Lyonnais. Wendie Renard, iconic OL player, occupies the third slot with a salary estimated at 40,000 euros gross per month.

These figures, although still very far from the men's salaries, underscore the evolution and growing recognition of women's football in France.

But all these differences raise significant questions. Could there exist a better financial balance in professional football, and what influences do these disparate revenues have on the entire federation? A consideration might be made about these dynamics and the image they project of the world's most popular sport.