Soccer Salaries: The 5 Highest Paying International Leagues

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Soccer, or football, or whatever name it has in a particular plot of land on the planet, is the world’s most popular sport. Bar none. Speculating about the reasons for its enduring universal appeal is certainly fun, and while we’re of the opinion that it has to do with the limited equipment needed to actually play a game, that’s a whole different story in and of itself. What’s beyond a shadow of a doubt is the fact that if you know anything at all about professional sports, and anything at all about soccer, you know that these guys have what might be referred to as “serious earning potential,” which is to say they can get paid very, very well.

But how does that equate across all the leagues? Unlike, say, American football, which has one very definitive professional league (the NFL) and a host of smaller semi-pro and amateur organizations, soccer is worldwide. There’s top tier leagues in England, Spain, and France, and all of them are competitive enough that they consistently capture the best talent, and can each make an argument for being the greatest league on Earth — a claim that would sound ridiculous coming from, say, the Chinese Basketball Association. The Daily Mail went around and determined the average income for every player in the biggest leagues, so here are are the five highest average paying leagues in the wide world of soccer.

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5. Ligue 1, France, $1,544,860

The highest level of soccer in France, Ligue 1 (and its counterpart, the lower division Ligue 2) has been around since the early 1930s, and features clubs from all across the country. They are also pretty friendly with their finances, as the average Ligue 1 player makes about $1.5 million a year — we should note that the Daily Mail originally reported these figures in pounds sterling, so it’s possible that the exchange rate could shuffle a little bit between their research and when you read this. Don’t panic.

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4. La Liga, Spain $1,896,775

It’s hard to think of a league that has more star power than La Liga — Spain’s top tier of competition — since they’ve got what feels like a monopoly on players who could be in the conversation for “best player alive right now,” but they’re only grading out as fourth when it comes to the average contract. Maybe La Liga doesn’t care about the little man, to invoke Homer Stokes.

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3. Serie A, Italy, $2,054,170

Although they have perhaps lost some luster in the eyes of international competition compared to their peers, the venerable Italian league Serie A, also known as one of the most established soccer organizations of all time, insofar as their place in the history of the sport and international competition, still know how to pay their players appropriately. Which is to say, better than a lot of their contemporaries.

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2. Bundesliga, Germany $2,277,594

If there was ever a soccer club that caused neophytes to have to seriously commit to learning how to spell something, it was Bundesliga. The German league arguably had the best showing in the World Cup, as far as their players are concerned, particularly considering the current roster of the best club in the world right now, Bayern Munich. No, we don’t have helpful mnemonic devices for either of those. Sorry.

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1. Premier League, UK $3,554,666

The Daily Mail started off their piece with  this interesting factoid, that “Premier League footballers earn £2.3 million a year each on average, or £43,717 a week, giving them wages almost 60% higher in 2014 than their closest earnings rivals in Germany’s Bundesliga.” If you’re curious as to how much £43,717 is in USD, by the way, it’s $68,373. Not a bad chunk of change for a week’s worth of work, we figure.