Soccer, the beautiful game is followed passionately and fanatically throughout Africa. The game has evolved from a just a kick about offering mere flickers of enjoyment to a full-blown business model that is today worth trillions of dollars. Some of the richest footballers in the world, comfortably rank among the big wigs in the global economy. However who are the richest footballers in Africa, the continent where the game is said to have begun.
From Morocco to Nigeria and from South Africa to Egypt, the beautiful game is considered much more than a competitive sport on the densely populated continent. It is a lifestyle.
Every time it is played, the whole world stops. War-torn areas call for a ceasefire for a chance to view it, as it unifies people. But above all, football can be and has been an outlet for African children.
The continent, blessed with an abundance of natural resources, has been very poor in its management and utilization, which has led to the poor development of countries and enormous levels of poverty. With this, sports in general, but especially soccer, are considered an outlet for most children.
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Those who have managed to get out there and play professionally are adored and seen as role models across the continent. Those who play for the best clubs in Europe gain legendary status in the eyes of their people and earn huge salaries along the way for their troubles.
In general, all professional footballers have good financial results, but there are some who, after hanging up their boots, will not need to go back to work. They and their families are prepared and set for life.
Here is the comprehensive and detailed list of the richest footballers in Africa.
Richest Footballers In Africa
10. Asamoah Gyan – $16 million
Worth $19 million, Ghanaian International, Asamoah Gyan, built his fortune at Al Ain and Shanghai SIPG. His contract with the latter allowed him to earn a weekly salary of around $250,000, making him the highest paid African player in 2015.
The 2010 World Cup quarter-finalist will have earned $36 million after the three years that the contract lasted. In his country, Gyan is a great entrepreneur. He has to his credit, an airline whose operations are still in progress.
9. Michael Essien – $17 million
Legendary Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien is guaranteed to have saved a lot of money during his hay days, as he was once the most expensive African footballer in history when he joined Chelsea in 2005. He made a name for himself at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship in New Zealand before heading to Europe for a trial with Manchester United, who were unable to sign him over work permit issues.
Despite having retired for a lengthy period of time, he remains one of the richest footballers in Africa.
8. Aubameyang – $19 million
According to Forbes Magazine, Gabon International, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s fortune is estimated at $19 million. Having won the Bundesliga top scorer accolade with Dortmund, the Gabonese striker left his bags at England club, Arsenal, where he received £198,000 a week, making him one of the highest paid players.
According to German newspaper Der Spiegel, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was awarded a £2.26 million Champions League bonus. His widely known new three-year contract with Arsenal is worth £300,000 a week at Aubameyang.
7. Sadio Mané – $21 million
A rising figure in African football, Senegalese Sadio Mané has a fortune estimated at $21 million. In Liverpool, his salary is estimated at £150,000 per week. The Senegalese forward has been one of the centerpieces of the English club and English football in general for several years. Mane places 7th, on this list of richest footballers in Africa.
6. John Obi Mikel – $24 million
Former Super Eagles of Nigeria captain, John Obi Mike is at number 6. He made a name for himself at the FIFA U-17 World Championship in Finland, where he was named the second best player in the tournament after Lionel Messi.
After the tournament, Mikel joined the Oslo-based club Lyn and later Chelsea FC, where he won every possible trophy available. Mikel’s wealth is visible and evident in his elegant collection of cars that include a Bentley Continental GT, Mercedes Benz G Wagon, Range Rover Sport, among many others.
5. Mohammed Salah – $28 million
Mohamed Salah is an Egyptian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League side, Liverpool and the Egyptian national team.
A prolific goalscorer, Salah came close to nipping the Golden Boot from Lionel Messi in his first season but lost to the generational talent. He has finished as top scorer in England in at least two seasons.
With more than 9 million followers from other sources, he makes more than $25 million a year. At this rate, it is not surprising that his net worth is estimated within this luxurious bracket.
4. Emmanuel Adebayor – $33 million
Controversial Togolese professional footballer, Emmanuel Adebayor, is among the richest footballers in Africa having performed for top teams in the English Premier League and around the world.
While at Manchester City, Adebayor became the highest paid player in the world, ahead of Ronaldo and Messi at the time. However, controversy arose after the footballer accused his family of trying to kill him because of his wealth. That hasn’t stopped him from enjoying it though, as he appreciates the luxuries of life. From exotic cars to clothing, mansions and airplanes, he owns it all
3. Touré Yaya – $44 million
Yaya Toure is the younger and the more popular of the Toure brothers who famously plyed their trade in the English top-flight.
The four-time African footballer of the year has a deal with Puma and is the face of Nissan’s advertising in Africa. He was part of the Barcelona team that won six trophies in a calendar year before heading to the City to help them win their first league title in 44 years.
2. Didier Drogba – $54 million
Didier Drogba is the all-time top scorer and former captain of the Ivory Coast national team. He is best known for his time at Chelsea, where he left his mark as one of the club’s top scorers of all time. He has also been named African Footballer of the Year twice.
Drogba made his money from lucrative contracts with Chelsea and Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua F.C. He also enjoyed lucrative business deals with Pepsi, Adidas, Konami, Nike, and Samsung.
The fortune of the former Ivorian international is not surprising given his remarkable achievements and the contacts he has made with various clubs during the course of his career. In 2004 when the former captain of the Ivory Coast Elephants joined Chelsea, he signed a record-breaking £24million contract with a salary of $185,000 per week.
In 2012, Drogba became the highest paid football player in China. His terms with Shanghai Shenhua of the Super League were two and a half years for $300,000 a week, turned into six months. When the former Marseille striker in France concluded his one-and-a-half-year contract with Süper Lig Galatasaray, he received a registration fee of 4 million euros plus a base salary of 4 million euros per season. 2 million euros for the remaining 2012-13 Süper Lig and 15,000 euros per game and his pension was set.
A perfect example of how sport unifies, Drogba, after guiding the Ivory Coast to qualify for the 2006 World Cup, made a desperate plea to the fighters in the country, asking them to lay down their arms and find peace after a five year civil war. His request was honored.
1. Samuel Eto’o – $78 million
Cameroonian footballer Samuel Eto’o Fils is the richest footballer in Africa .
He is the most successful and most decorated African player of all time, further polishing his cabinet with four African Player of the Year awards, a record on the continent.
The player has a rich CV that has seen him play in Real Madrid, Mallorca, Barcelona, Inter de Milán, Anzhi Makhachkala, Chelsea, Everton, Sampdoria, Antalyspor and Konyaspor.
Eto’o was once the highest paid player in the world during his spell with Anzhi Makhachkala. He also racked up several endorsement deals that have contributed to his huge net worth.
This allows him to lead an extravagant life with several high-flying mansions, super-cars and private jets, as well as generous donations to various charities. Samuel Eto’o is known the world over for his endurance and considered one of the greatest African footballers in history.