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The 8 highest-paid soccer players in the world

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Over 1 billion people watched the last World Cup in 2014, and that year FIFA raked in over $5.7 billion in revenue.

Some players are raking it in as well.

According to Forbes' ranking of the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world, three of the five highest-paid athletes on earth are soccer players. Overall, eight footballers made the list.

Here are the eight highest-paid soccer players in the world:

Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Valencia at Camp Nou on April 14, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.
Power Sport Images/Getty Images
Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Valencia at Camp Nou on April 14, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain.

8. Luis Suarez

Pay: $26.9 M
Salary/winnings: $19.9 M
Endorsements: $7 M
Country: Uruguay
Club: FC Barcelona
Position: Forward

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates a goal during a Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on April 12, 2015.
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Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates a goal during a Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on April 12, 2015.

7. Wayne Rooney

Pay: $27 M
Salary/winnings: $22 M
Endorsements: $5 M
Country: England
Club: Everton
Position: Forward

Oscar
Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images
Oscar

6. Oscar

Pay: $27.4 M
Salary/winnings: $25.9 M
Endorsements: $1.5 M
Country: Brazil
Club: Shanghai SIPG
Position: Midfield

Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England.
Michael Regan | Getty Images
Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England.

5. Paul Pogba

Pay: $29.5 M
Salary/winnings: $25 M
Endorsements: $4.5 M
Country: France
Club: Manchester United
Position: Midfield

Gareth Bale of Madrid celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26, 2018.
Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images
Gareth Bale of Madrid celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on May 26, 2018.

4. Gareth Bale

Pay: $34.6 M
Salary/winnings: $28.6 M
Endorsements: $6 M
Country: Wales
Club: Real Madrid
Position: Forward

Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match.
Clive Rose | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images
Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match.

3. Neymar

Pay: $90 M
Salary/winnings: $73 M
Endorsements: $17 M
Country: Brazil
Club: Paris Saint-Germain
Position: Forward

Cristiano Ronaldo
Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Pay: $108 M
Salary/winnings: $61 M
Endorsements: $47 M
Country: Portugal
Club: Real Madrid
Position: Forward

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona shoots at goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.
Getty Images
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona shoots at goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.

1. Lionel Messi

Pay: $111 M
Salary/winnings: $84 M
Endorsements: $27 M
Country: Argentina
Club: FC Barcelona
Position: Forward

Lionel Messi is currently the world's highest-paid soccer player. The Argentinian has played for FC Barcelona since 2000, when he was just 13 years old. In 2017, Messi signed a contract to stay with the club through the 2020-2021 season which included a €700 million (approximately $822 million) buyout clause. According to Forbes, the star brought in $111 million this past year.

Closely following Messi is Christiano Ronaldo, who was the world's highest-paid athlete the previous year. Ronaldo signed a contract extension with Real Madrid in 2016 that is expected to be worth more than $50 million a year before taxes. He also is known for landing lucrative endorsement deals from companies like Nike and Tag Heuer.

Despite their sky-high earnings, both Messi and Ronaldo have faced accusations of tax fraud. In 2016, Messi and his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, were found guilty on three counts of defrauding tax authorities of €4.1 million ($4.6 million). In 2017, Ronaldo was accused by the Spanish government of defrauding Spain's revenue offices of almost €15 million ($17.5 million) in unpaid taxes.

All of the highest-paid players were men, and all were either forwards or midfielders. Ronaldo's Real Madrid teammate, Wales' Gareth Bale, is the only highest-paid player to not have his national team qualify for the World Cup.

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