Africa hasn’t been left behind in the production of world-class footballers. They have dazzled the world over the past few decades and their legacies live on in the clubs they have helped on to many silverware. West Africa produced the finest talents of the 1990s. Roger Milla, Jay-Jay Okocha, and Samuel Osei-Kuffour are names that readily come to mind.
Here are the top 10 highest paid African footballers as of 2015.
10) Seydou Keita (2014 Earnings: $1.4 Million)
The Malian player is a key player in the Mali national team. During his time with Barcelona he earned $4.2m (€3.35m) annually.
In 2012, he signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Chinese side Dalian Aerbin FC, where he was paid €14 million per year. He returned to Spain after signing with Valencia CF before signing a one-year contract with Serie A club A.S. Roma in June 2014 worth €1 million.
9) Michael Essien (2014 Earnings: $2.9 Million)
Currently playing for AC Milan, the Ghanaian spent five years in France with Lyon and Bastia before becoming the most expensive African player of all time when he signed for Chelsea for £24.4 million in 2005.
His Milan contract will run until 2015 (18 months) and his salary will reportedly be halved, meaning he’ll earn €2.5 million per season.
8) Steven Pienaar (2014 Earnings: $4.8 Million)
South Africa’s magic winger plays for English club Everton and was captain of Bafana-Bafana until October 2012.
A permanent transfer for his services was agreed in July 2012 between Everton and Tottenham, with Everton paying a fee of £4.5 million. He earns £3.12 million per year.
7) Kolo Toure (2014 Earnings: $6 Million
Liverpool and Ivory Coast defender, Kolo Toure earns £3.9 million annually
In July 2013, He signed a two-year deal with Liverpool, taking a drop in the £90,000 a week salary he was being paid by Manchester City.
6) John Obi Mikel (2014 Earnings: $6.5 Million
Chelsea’s Nigerian midfield dynamo John Obi Mikel has been with the club since the £16 million transfer debacle in June 2006. In December 2012, he signed a contract extension with Chelsea until 2017.
The Chelsea midfielder previously earned £2,600,000 (£50,000 per week) before signing the five-year contract extension in 2012 worth £80,000 per week.
5) Christopher Samba (2013 Earnings: $7.5 Million
The Congolese defender made the list after moving to Anzhi for a $160,000 a week deal from Blackburn Rovers where he played for 5 years and then a 10 match stint at QPR before moving back to Russia. In August 2013, Dynamo Moscow signed three players from Anzhi, with Samba being one of them
He is one of the players on regular selection for the Congolese national. He is also the captain of the team.
4) Emmanuel Adebayor (2013 Earnings: $16.7 Million
The former African player of the year made the permanent move to Spurs in August 2012 after a year on loan from Manchester City. To complete the deal, City paid him $6 million to make up for the salary cut he needed to take to fit with Tottenham’s pay structure. His weekly wages dropped from $270,000 to $159,000. He had endorsement deals with Adidas, and Power Horse.
3) Samuel Eto’o (2014 Earnings: $16.4 Million)
Eto’o is one of Africa’s most decorated players and the most financially successful player in the continent. According to Goal.com Eto’o is the richest player to ever come out of Africa with estimated net worth of £70m ($118m).
Currently playing for Italian club Sampdoria, Samuel Eto’o earned $16.4 million in 2014; $13.4 million in salary and $3 million from endorsements.
2) Didier Drogba (2014 Earnings: $17.8 million)
Arguably Chelsea’s top striker of all time, The Drog had a contract with Chelsea worth £105,000 a week — which expired in 2012
After eight years with Chelsea scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances and 10 titles including their 2012 Champions League trophy, he signed in June 2012 with Shanghai Shenhua for a two-and-a-half-year deal earning $300,000 a week. The club’s owners battled for control and he went unpaid. In January 2013 Galatasaray signed him on an 18-month deal which earned him €10.9 million per season.
On 25 July 2014, Drogba returned to Chelsea on a free transfer, and signed a one-year contract. His sponsor deals include Nike and Pepsi.
1) Yaya Toure (2014 Earnings: $21.7 Million)
Yaya tops the list with a new four-year deal at Manchester City until 2017. “I am after respect and not fighting for the money”. This could explain why he didn’t agitate for an increase to his $334,000 a week salary. According to Forbes, in 2014 he earned $19.2 million as salary and $2.5 million from endorsements.
Yaya is promoting causes in his native Ivory Coast and the African continent. His Puma Boots deal was negotiated to include a charity clause where clothing was donated to the underprivileged in Africa.