The rise of women’s football over the past generation is one of the big sporting stories of the last generation, but what size of pay packets are the top female pros taking home?
When you think of biggest-earning footballers, you immediately think of the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and all those other world-class, box-office superstars.
And yes, they’re all men.
Ronaldo pockets a cool $220m a year in salary out in Saudi Arabia with Al-Nassr, almost twice the take-home pay of Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe, whose salary dwarfs that of mega-rich team mate Lionel Messi.
So where do the women fit into this league table of jaw-dropping salaries?
High Carli Tops the Pay List
It’ll surprise no one that women footballers earn a fraction of what their male counterparts do.
Reports suggest that the biggest salary ever collected by a female footballer was the $530,000 annual take-home pay of Carli Lloyd – and the record-setting striker retired two years ago.
No one would argue that Lloyd, a two-time Olympic champion, two-time World Cup winner and two-time footballer of the year, wasn’t worth every cent and nickel she managed to bank.
But she still earned (give or take) a staggering 78 times less than Messi when she finally hung up her boots.
Kerr Cleans up Nicely in Chelsea Colours
There is no doubt that the very elite in the women’s game can make some serious bucks, even if those pay cheques are dwarfed by ones even average male players can bank.
Sam Kerr, Chelsea’s Australian superstar, has reportedly picked up Lloyd’s baton by being the game’s top female earner with an annual take-home of around $430,000.
Her contract makes her the first Australian female footballer to make over $1m.
And you can imagine the other names high up on the list. The likes of Megan Rapinoe, Ada Hegerberg and Marta are all serious earners.
There were whispers some of the top names who went out to China, the likes of Brazilian forward Cristiane, went on astronomic salaries though the league hasn’t taken off as they would have wanted and the financial inducements have dropped accordingly.
Average Pay Is Way Behind the Men
What is clear that what women earn isn’t keeping up with interest in the game, which is sky rocketing.
The Women’s Super League has taken time to catch the imagination of audiences but viewing figures, both at games and on television, continue to rise.
Yet it is believed that the average WSL player earns around $50,000 a year, a comfortable enough salary but roughly 100 times less than an average Premier League player.
The fact is that money talks and while the men’s game rakes in so much more, salaries are only going to carry on reflecting the disparity.
But with equal pay in the work-place one of the hottest topics around at the moment, it seems when it comes to football there is still a lot of catching up to do.