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2018 FIFA World Cup™: How Much Is Each Team Worth?

From Messi to Neymar, World Cup teams are loaded with luxury players that have sky-high worth. This got us thinking: What if national teams had to pay players their regular club salaries? How much would each World Cup roster cost?

To see just how big these numbers would be, we dug up the reported salaries for each national team player and converted the currency to US dollars to create a “payroll” for each country’s team.

Brazil is the highest-paid team in the world.

Based on combined players’ salaries, Brazil takes “the cup” for the biggest payroll, with Argentina following close behind. With more than a whopping $185 million in hypothetical value, Brazil’s payroll would be astronomical—with a good chunk of that going to Neymar’s salary alone.

But Neymar isn’t the only player that would cost a pretty penny if his national team had to pay his regular salary. Lionel Messi, with a salary of an unbelievable $84 million, makes up almost half of Argentina’s hypothetical team salary of just over $170 million—even though there are twenty-two other players on the team.

The players are worth the price.

Teams with the highest-priced players have a greater shot at winning. For example, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, France, Germany, and England have all won the World Cup at least once, and they all land within the top ten highest-paid national teams in the world.

But then there’s Italy. With four World Cup titles—second only to Brazil’s five—Italy still didn’t make the cut for top ten highest-paid teams. With Italy, it seems high-priced players aren’t necessarily the key to winning.

Did you know?
World Cup players receive bonuses as they progress further in the tournament. These can be up to millions of dollars, but each national team has the right to negotiate internally how they’ll divvy up the money among players.

By the same token, the ten lowest-paid teams were some of 2018’s hopeful underdogs that have since been eliminated (except for Russia, the host of this year’s tournament). The players on the ten lowest-paid teams average about $1 million salaries, while players on the ten highest-paid teams make an average of over $6 million. Although there’s always room for upsets, it seems money is the most reliable clincher for wins.

We also noticed how there’s no trend between geographic region and teams’ payroll (i.e. European teams don’t cost more than South American teams or vice versa). High-priced players can equate wins, but team locale apparently doesn’t.

P.S. In case you’re wondering where the USA stands, they didn’t qualify to be in the World Cup this year—hence their absence from any of our charts.

It’s expensive to win.

It’s no surprise some of the teams favored to win the World Cup have some of the highest (theoretical) payrolls—good players aren’t cheap. Luckily for the national teams, they don’t have to foot the bill.

Highest- and Lowest-Paid Player per Team

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CountryHighest-Paid PlayerLowest-Paid Player
ArgentinaLionel Messi: $84,000,000Enzo Pérez: $939,778
BrazilNeymar: $73,000,000Danilo: $801,931
PortugalCristiano Ronaldo: $61,000,000Gonçalo Guedes: $99,854
FrancePaul Pogba: $25,000,000Lucas Hernández: $58,649
ColombiaJames Rodríguez: $21,400,000José Fernando Cuadrado: $122,159
UruguayLuis Suárez: $19,900,000Martín Campaña: $46,000
BelgiumAxel Witsel: $18,864,032Thorgan Hazard: $33,960
GermanyThomas Müller: $18,854,912Marvin Plattenhardt: $981,144
JapanMaya Yoshida: $16,731,700Hiroki Sakai: $39,641
MexicoHéctor Herrera: $15,916,055Carlos Salcedo: $48,500
SpainDavid Silva: $15,378,444Rodrigo: $939,518
EnglandHarry Kane: $13,916,770Nick Pope: $1,043,688
IcelandJón Daði Böðvarsson: $13,265,824Rúrik Gíslason: $35,238
PolandRobert Lewandowski: $11,786,820Artur Jędrzejczyk: $66,184
NigeriaOdion Ighalo: $10,000,000Ikechukwu Ezenwa: $46,791
CroatiaIvan Rakitić: $9,396,672Ante Rebić: $704,804
SenegalKeita Baldé: $9,100,000Abdoulaye Diallo: $77,799
EgyptMohamed Salah: $8,044,566Mohamed Abdel-Shafy: $70,000
DenmarkChristian Eriksen: $7,649,413Jonas Lössl: $347,698
SerbiaAleksandar Kolarov: $7,071,300Aleksandar Prijović: $150,000
SwitzerlandGranit Xhaka: $6,261,709Denis Zakaria: $200,000
MoroccoMedhi Benatia: $5,499,234Nabil Dirar: $77,534
SwedenVictor Lindelöf: $5,153,277Albin Ekdal: $353,565
RussiaYuri Zhirkov: $4,712,580Aleksei Miranchuk: $41,224
AustraliaTrent Sainsbury: $4,000,000Milos Degenek: $549,600
Costa RicaKeylor Navas: $3,824,040Johnny Acosta: $41,452
PeruJefferson Farfán: $3,758,890Miguel Araujo: $70,000
South KoreaHwang Hee-chan: $2,714,496Kim Min-woo: $34,000
Saudi ArabiaMotaz Hawsawi: $2,677,180Abdullah Otayf: $21,183
IR IranSardar Azmoun: $2,232,329Mehdi Taremi: $33,000
PanamaFelipe Baloy: $1,530,089Ismael Díaz: $59,999
TunisiaEllyes Skhiri: $1,225,787Farouk Ben Mustapha: $17,325

Note: Salary data is variable. We calculated averages and totals based on our conglomerate data set. We pulled our numbers from multiple sources, and the reflected approximations may not be exact.

About the Author

Julia is a freelance writer and low-key blogger. She goes on a run (walk) every night, loves all things political satire, and has never met a dog she hasn't liked.

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