Football has become one of the most lucrative professions and this means that players are now among the highest paid people in the world. Gone are the days when parents would not allow their children to pursue a career in football. Several African stars are earning millions of CFA francs a week, billions a year, such as Pierre Emerick Aubameyang, Cedric Bakambu, Thomas Partey, Mohamed Salah, Riyad Mahrez and Sadio Mané.
In recent years, football has become a respectable profession. In Africa, many lives and livelihoods have been improved by the ‘king sport’ and every year thousands of footballers are exported from the continent to other parts of the world. To date, many African footballers have made their mark at the top, signing lucrative contracts in Europe’s top five leagues, including England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
There was a time when Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o, Ivorian Didier Drogba, Ghana’s Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan were the highest paid African footballers, but a new generation has taken over. Arsenal and Gabon star Pierre Emerick Aubameyang is currently the highest paid footballer after his contract was extended until 2023 with Arsenal. He is now reportedly paid £350,000 a week (over 266.8 million FCFA).
Congo DR international Cedric Bakambu is also one of the highest paid African footballers in the world. The 29-year-old has left Villarreal for Beijing Guoan in the Chinese Super League where he earns £307,000 a week (FCFA 234 million). Only Brazilian international Oscar (Shanghai Port) is better paid than Bakambu in China. On the African front, ‘Bakamgoal’ is ahead of Arsenal’s new Ghanaian recruit, Thomas Partey. The 27-year-old has become a key figure at the Emirates and is said to earn £230,000 a week, or more than FCFA 175 million.
Egypt’s Mohamed Salah, who signed a staggering £50m (more than FCFA 38.1bn) deal with Liverpool two years ago, comes in at the bottom. The Pharaoh is reportedly earning around £200,000 a week, or more than FCFA 152 million, at the Reds. In contrast, Mo. Salah is the only African footballer in the Forbes list of the highest paid footballers for 2020, although his advertising revenue has been added. According to the American business magazine founded in 1917 by Bertie Charles Forbes, the Egyptian star earns £26 million (more than 19.8 billion FCFA) annually.
Riyad Mahrez closes the top five of the highest paid African players. The Algerian captain has become an important player at Manchester City as the club aims to win an unprecedented quadruple crown. The Fennec is now reportedly earning a weekly salary of £200,000 (more than 152 million FCFA) after signing a long-term contract with the Skyblues.
Top 10 best African players
1st Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon/Arsenal) £370,000 per week (266 million FCFA)
2nd Cedric Bakambu (DR Congo/Beijing Guoan) £307,000 (234 million FCFA)
3rd Thomas Partey (Ghana/Arsenal) £230,000 (FCFA 175 million)
4th Mohamed Salah (Egypt/Liverpool) £200,000 (152 million FCFA)
5th Riyad Mahrez (Algeria/Man. City) £200,000 (152 million FCFA)
6th Odion Ighalo (Nigeria/Al-Shabab) £190,000 (144 million FCFA)
7th Sadio Mané (Senegal/Liverpool) £150,000 (114 million FCFA)
8th Nicolas Pepe (Ivory Coast/Arsenal) £140,000 (106 million FCFA)
9th Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast/Crystal Palace) £130,000 (99 million FCFA)
10th Naby Keïta « Deco » (Guinea/Liverpool) £120,000 (FCFA 91 million)