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These are the highest-paid footballers in Saudi Arabia

The crowded football calendar, battles for television rights, huge sponsorship contracts, salaries and transfer fees into the hundreds of millions. On top of that there are new football formats such as the Nations League or the renewed format of the Champions League. It’s safe to say that commercial and financial interests weigh heavily in modern-day football. From this perspective, we look at the highest-paid players from various leagues. And this week, a league where money plays an even more prominent role: The Saudi Pro League.

Cristiano Ronaldo Erakulis

The financial implications are evident in the transfers of the past year. Although cashing in has always been a part of the game, a large number of footballers were tempted to play in Saudi Arabia this year. Typically, players decided to play outside of Europe in the twilight of their career, but this year we saw plenty of stars head to the Saudi Pro League in their prime or at a young age. They are following the example of players like Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, who, it’s worth noting, did so towards the end of their football careers.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al-Nassr) – 200.000.000,- per year

It’s no surprise to see the Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of this list. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was one of the first major players to exchange the European pitches for Saudi Arabia’s. Despite being 39 years old, he still scores week after week.


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Een bericht gedeeld door Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano)

2. Neymar (Al-Hilal) – €100.000.000,- per year

Neymar has not been a great success so far in Saudi Arabia. The Brazilian magician has only played three matches for Al-Hilal. However, given his status, Neymar was welcomed with a spectacular presentation in a packed stadium featuring a show with drones and fireworks. His new club went all out by sending a Boeing 747 to Paris to pick Neymar up. An aircraft with a price tag of 500 million euros. The plane – boasting amenities like a dining room, luxurious sofas and lounge seats, several small bedrooms, and a golden throne right in the middle – was loaned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a Saudi billionaire who is a massive fan of Al-Hilal.


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Een bericht gedeeld door Neymar Jr (@neymarjr)

3. Karim Benzema (Al-Ittihad) – €100.000.000,- per year

Karim Benzema is the next star on this list. The former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo played for Real Madrid for more than a decade. The Frenchman left Bernabeu through the front door, bidding farewell with the Ballon d’Or. What applies to Neymar also applies to Karim Benzema: The Algerian-French top striker received a grand welcome.


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Een bericht gedeeld door Fendi (@fendi)

4. Riyad Mahrez (Al-Ahli) – 52.200.000,- per year

Staying in the Algerian corner, we have Riyad Mahrez at number 4. The former player of Leicester City and Manchester City left the Premier League, where he won everything, for Al-Ahli. In his final season with Manchester City he even won the treble: Premier League champion, FA Cup winner, and Champions League winner.


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Een bericht gedeeld door RM26 (@riyadmahrez26.7)

5. Sadio Mané (Al-Nassr) – €40.000.000,- per year

Sadio Mané is the attacking partner of Cristiano Ronaldo at Al-Nassr, which is one scary offense if you were to ask us. The Senegalese player enjoyed great success with Liverpool and Bayern Munich before bidding a satisfied farewell to European football.


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Een bericht gedeeld door Sadio Mane (@sadiomaneofficiel)

The complete top 10:

6. Kalidou Koulibaly (Al-Hilal)  – €34.700.000,- per year

7. Aleksander Mitrović (Al-Hilal) – €25.00.000,- per year 

8. N’Golo Kanté (Al-Ittihad) – €25.00.000,- per year 

9. Sergej Milinković-Savić (Al-Hilal) – €25.00.000,- per year

10. Aymeric Laporte (Al-Nassr) – €24.500.000,- per year