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The top 10 highest paid women’s footballers in the world

Cameron Smith
Alex Morgan, USWNT, 2023
© IMAGO

Women’s football may have experienced huge growth over the past decade, but the finances in the game still cower in comparison to the men’s game.

Of course, TV rights deals and the number of spectators watching matches and buying merchandise attracts far greater sums in men’s football, but women’s soccer is receiving a slow and steady increase in attention and money.

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According to Forbes, Cristiano Ronaldo was the highest-paid football player in the world in 2023, with the Portuguese international taking home a ludicrous annual salary of over €200 million at Al-Nassr.

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The Saudi Pro League has pumped money into the sport, with some of Europe’s biggest names moving to Saudi Arabia thanks to the insane wages they’ve been offered.

The women’s game starks in comparison, but the highest earners in the sport still earn a decent chunk more than the average worker.

While Ronaldo earns more than €200m a year, the highest-paid female footballer is Alex Morgan, whose salary stands at $0.8m per year. However, she also earns a further $6.3m in off-field revenue, which bumps her annual wage up to $7.1m – which is still far less than her male counterpart.

That is according to Stastista’s 2023 report.

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Two-time Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas is the second highest-paid player in women’s football, overtaking Megan Rapinoe upon the American’s retirement from the sport in 2023.

Megan Rapinoe
© ProShots – Megan Rapinoe

Trinity Rodman is third thanks to her $2.3m annual salary, ahead of Gotham’s Crystal Dunn, who is fourth with her $2m yearly earnings.

Sophia Smith also earns $2m per year, while Lindsey Horan is sixth, Rose Lavelle is seventh and Sofia Huerta is eighth.

Ada Hegerberg, the first ever winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin in 2018, is the ninth highest paid female football player on the planet. She reportedly earns $1.2m per year.

Manchester City’s Chloe Kelly also earns $1.2m per year, according to reports, and completes the top 10.

The top 10 best paid women’s football players

Player Club On-Field Wage Off-Field Wage Total Wage
1. Alex Morgan San Diego Wave $0.8m $6.3m $7.1m
2. Alexia Putellas Barcelona $0.8m $3.2m $4m
3. Trinity Rodman Washington Spirit $0.8m $1.5m $2.3m
4. Crystal Dunn Gotham $0.7m $1.3m $2m
= Sophia Smith Portland Thorns $0.8m $1.m $2m
6. Lindsey Horan Lyon $0.9m $0.6m $1.5m
7. Rose Lavelle Gotham $0.8m $0.6m $1.4m
8. Sofia Huerta Seattle Reign $0.8m $0.5m $1.3m
9. Ada Hegerberg Lyon $0.6m $0.6m $1.2m
10. Chloe Kelly Man City $0.4m $0.8m $1.2m

How much are women’s footballers paid?

Much like with the men’s game, women’s footballers are paid vastly differently depending on their quality, age, marketability, and several other factors.

Alex Morgan is the best paid women’s football player, with an annual salary of $7.2m, although most of her earnings come from off-field ventures.

However, most teams in the third tier and some teams in the second tier of women’s football in England are not even professional, meaning players are forced to juggle playing football with a full-time job. Some receive travel expenses, but many are not even paid to play football.

Why are women’s footballers paid less than men?

Women’s football is currently a world away from the finances involved in the men’s game. That is largely because of the disparity in popularity and therefore the gap in TV rights deals and merchandise sales.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid men's footballer in the world
© ProShots – Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid men’s footballer in the world

The 2018 Men’s World Cup had 3.6 billion viewers throughout the tournament – nearly half of the world’s population – while the 2019 Women’s World Cup only had 764 million viewers, five times less than the men’s version.

With more viewers, TV broadcasters pay more for the rights to air matches, which gets distributed amongst teams, who then pay their players more.

Furthermore, the first Women’s World Cup wasn’t held until 1991 – 61 years after the first Men’s World Cup. As a result, the women’s game has been playing catch-up ever since, in regards to both attracting viewers and improving the quality of the sport.

There is less money in women’s football than men’s football, which is a big reason why the wages are far less.

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