For one reason or another, the left wing seems to be home to both some of the finest and highest paid players on the planet, and 30 left-sided footballers earn in excess of £100,000 a week.
Once again, players who are thoroughly capable of playing on the left wing, but are either more commonly played or more competent in another position, such as Antoine Griezmann, are excluded here and saved for their preferred position.
Here are the 7 best paid left wingers in world football
7. Franck Ribery - £273,000 a Week
Kicking us off in seventh place and earning a whopping £273,000 a week, Franck Ribery has set the early tone for this seven, and he keeps top class players like Eden Hazard and Marco Reus out of contention. Ribery is no spring chicken anymore it has to be said - now aged 35 - but he has still done enough for Bayern Munich to offer him a one-year contract extension. That extension will kick in next month, and it’s yet to be seen whether it is on the same or decreased terms. Hailed as Zinedine Zidane’s heir as the talisman in the French national team, Ribery’s post-2006 international career has been a disappointment, but he has had a great club career. The former Marseille man has spent more than a decade at Bayern Munich, winning eight Bundesliga titles and one Champions League.
6. Alexis Sanchez - £350,000 a Week
Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United during The Emirates FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on May 19, 2018 in London, England.
Some pretty sensational stories came out about Alexis Sanchez’s potential pay packet at Manchester United, with some sources claiming he could earn as much as £600,000 a week at Old Trafford. That wasn’t quite the case, and the poor fella will have to make do with just £350,000 a week, and that’s before tax don’t forget. Sanchez joined Manchester United off the back of three-and-half years at Arsenal, and three years at Barcelona. A tremendous athlete renowned for his high work rate as much as his quick feet and offensive abilities, Sanchez had a slightly underwhelming first half season at Old Trafford, but we’d expect him to be a very important player for Jose Mourinho next season.
5. Philippe Coutinho - £401,000 a Week
Some may argue that Philippe Coutinho should be included in this series as an attacking midfielder. We don’t agree of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be talking about him now, but it’s case that could be made. Coutinho got a huge pay rise back in January when Barcelona signed him from Liverpool, in a move worth a potential £142 million. A classic diminutive, tricky and intelligent Brazilian playmaker, Coutinho can play on either flank or through the middle. He has bagged 9 goals and 5 assists in 21 games since joining Barcelona.
4. Ezequiel Lavezzi - £427,000 a Week
Ezequiel Lavezzi #22 of Argentina reacts in the first half against the United States during a 2016 Copa America Centenario Semifinal match at NRG Stadium on June 21, 2016 in Houston, Texas.
Making Sanchez and Coutinho look like the bargains of the century, the fourth best paid left winger in world football is Argentine international Ezequiel Lavezzi. Although capable of playing on the right, as an attacking midfielder or even as a central striker, Lavezzi is most commonly deployed on the left wing. Quick of mind and feet, Lavezzi enjoyed success in Europe with both Napoli and PSG, but despite his dropping standards in Paris, the wide man managed to more than double his salary with a move to the Chinese Super League. Lavezzi joined Hebei China Fortune, where he had a poor first season. In 2017 though, he did provide some return on the club’s enormous investment, with the most combined goals and assists in the division.
3. Gareth Bale - £479,000 a Week
A lot of you felt that Gareth Bale should have featured in our seven for right wingers, and you probably had a point, but despite his limited game time there, his best performances have often come off the left flank. Bale is obviously a world class footballer when he is on song, but unfortunately he has suffered increasing injury problems at Real Madrid over the last three seasons, reducing him to the role of bit-part player. He certainly isn’t being paid like a bit-part player, though - reportedly picking up close to half a million pounds a week. Quick, strong and brilliant in front of goal, Bale has still managed 18 goals in 37 games this season, despite his limited involvement.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo - £603,000 a Week
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid controls the ball during the La Liga match between Villarreal and Real Madrid at Estadio de La Ceramica on May 19, 2018 in Villarreal, Spain.
The third best paid player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo supposedly earns just over £600,000 at week at Real Madrid. As mad as the finances in football have got, you have to say, Ronaldo is probably worth that and more to Real. In terms of their image and brand, Ronaldo has been a blessing, but above all else, his contribution on the pitch has been without peer. He is undoubtedly the greatest player to play for the club in the last half century, and possibly of all time. Now aged 33, Ronaldo has often played as a central striker, but he is, and has always tended to be predominantly a left winger who likes to drift infield.
Despite his many, many talents, Ronaldo’s movement is quite possibly his finest attribute. He is a genius when it comes to sniffing out chances, peeling off defenders and getting a march on an oppositions backline. Crucially, when Ronaldo does work a chance for himself, there have been few players more clinical than him in the history of the game. He has averaged better than a goal a game at Real.
1. Neymar - £629,000 a Week
Between them, the seven players who feature in this video earn around £165 million a year, which is around about the same amount that the US government spends on its military every two and a half hours.
A lot of people talk about why Neymar might have left Barcelona. Was it to get out of Lionel Messi’s shadow? Was it to try and make history at PSG and win the Champions League? Well, they both might have played a part in his thinking, but I’m pretty sure £629,000 a week didn’t hurt either.
Neymar is one of the best footballers in the world, combining incredible technique and ability on the ball with searing pace and a generous dose of final product. I’m not sure he deserves to be out-earning Cristiano Ronaldo just yet, but he does have a combined total of 32 goals and assists in 20 league games for PSG this season, as well as 11 in 7 in the Champions League.
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