The Promota Magazine

The Highest Paid African footballers

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While most of us use our legs merely for walking, some use them for making big money.  Shame on us. Today ordinary folk with extraordinary leg power, speed, balance, tact and coordination rake in millions of dollars doing nothing more than pursuing a leather ball around a massive pitch.

Soccer is big business, and the players- the talented, the savvy and the fluky-have benefitted immensely from satisfying the cravings of enthusiastic, idolizing fans. Stars like Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have earned colossal fortunes playing the game they love. And African players haven’t been left out in the magic of it all. Based solely on their annual salaries, these are the highest-paid African soccer players:

Yaya Toure
Country of citizenship: Ivory Coast
Club: Manchester City
Annual salary: $13.5 million

The 28 year-old Ivorian midfielder is the highest paid African player in the English Premier league. Made global headlines last summer when he left Barcelona (after a very successful streak) to join his elder brother Kolo at Manchester City. Smart move: Toure currently earns $320,000 a week. Other compensation includes an image rights payment of $2.5 million a year and an additional $1.3 million bonus every time Manchester City qualifies for the Champions League.

Samuel Eto’o
Country of citizenship: Cameroon
Club: Inter Milan
Annual salary:  $12 million

The revered Cameroonian striker is a four-time winner of the African Player of the Year award. He scored over 100 goals with previous club Barcelona FC over a five season period. His weekly take-home pay stands at $300,000. Eto’o bagged the African Player of the Year award for three consecutive years  in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Emmanuel Adebayor
Country of citizenship: Togo
Club: Manchester City
Annual salary: $12 million

Born to Nigerian parents in Togo, the Manchester City striker started out his career playing for OC Agaza, a Togolese football club based in Lome. In July 2009 he exited Arsenal, signing a five-year contract with Manchester City, for a transfer fee of $40 million. Earns $220,000 a week. In January signed a loan deal to play for Real Madrid. Endorses energy drink, Power horse.

Kolo Toure
Country of citizenship: Ivory Coast
Club: Manchester City
Annual salary: $10.3 million

Kolo plays with Manchester City alongside younger brother, Yaya Toure. In March 2011 he was placed on suspension from the club after failing a drug test. He denies wrong-doing, claiming he inadvertently took diet pills meant for his wife. Investigations are still ongoing, but the worst that could happen is a 2 year-ban from football. Don’t feel too sorry: he’s got plenty of money. Currently earns $190,000 a week; has a boot deal with Adidas.

Frederic Kanoute
Country of citizenship: Mali
Club: Sevilla FC
Annual salary: $8.6 million

The 33 year-old French-born Malian footballer plays for Sevilla FC in the Spanish La Liga. Before Sevilla, had played for Lyon, West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur. A devout Muslim, in 2007 he paid $700,000 to purchase a mosque in Seville for Muslim locals after the contract on the premises had expired, and it was about to be sold out. Earns $180,000 a week.

Didier Drogba
Country of citizenship: Ivory Coast
Club: Chelsea
Annual salary: $8 million

One of the most highly rated strikers in the world, Drogba is currently the highest goal-scorer for the Cote D’Ivoire national soccer team and is Chelsea’s 6th highest goal scorer of all time. Currently his earnings stand at $185,000 a week. The 33 year-old has endorsement deals with Nike, Pepsi, Samsung and Orange France. Large heart: Has committed some $5 million to building a children’s home in Abidjan.

John Mikel Obi
Country of citizenship: Nigeria
Club: Chelsea
Annual salary: $5.8 million

Many complain of Mikel Obi’s petulance, but why would he care? He makes $110,000 a week. The 24 year-old Nigerian midfielder is the highest paid soccer player from Nigeria. He started off his career with Plateau United, a Nigerian club, before stints with Ajax Cape Town in South Africa and Norwegian side Lynn Oslo. Endorsement deals include Pepsi and Samsung.

Michael Essien
Country of citizenship: Ghana
Club: Chelsea
Annual salary: $5,5 million

The 28 year-old Ghanaian-born, Chelsea midfielder currently earns $110,000 a week. In 2005, he signed with Chelsea for a $38 million fee, making him the most expensive African footballer at the time. Started off his career playing for Liberty Professionals, a Ghanaian football club based in Accra; went on to play for French clubs SC Bastia and Lyon before joining Chelsea. Outside the pitch, enjoys endorsement deals with African telecom group MTN, Samsung and Pepsi.

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