Rugby World Cup 2015: Rugby's 10 highest paid players' salaries dwarfed by football's best

Joe Hall
Follow Joe
Dan Carter
Dan Carter will become rugby's highest earner when he moves to Racing Metro 92 after the World Cup (Source: Getty)

For the next six weeks, rugby will unusually claim pride of place ahead of football in the media's attentions, with back pages and news reports focused on the unfurling drama from the Rugby World Cup.

Yet the financial dominance of football is demonstrated in the huge disparities between the top players' salaries.

Read more: Sam Burgess cost rugby union £880,000

New Zealand's record points scorer Dan Carter - who knocked over another 16 points in the All Blacks' 26-16 victory over Argentina this weekend - will officially become the best-paid player in the sport when he links up with new club Racing Metro 92 after the World Cup finishes.

The French Top 14 club will pay the legendary fly-half an annual salary of £1.4m a year for his services over three years, a contract which takes Carter above Australian Matt Giteau on rugby's rich list and makes him the only rugby player earning in excess of £1m a year.

In contrast, football's highest earner Cristiano Ronaldo has a salary more than 20 times larger than Carter, worth £33.8m a year. The Association of Accounting Technicians found that it would take Carter 24 years to make that much.

Read more: Cristiano Ronaldo paid over €1m for a single day's sponsorship work

England's highest-paid rugby player Sam Burgess, who was persuaded to leave rugby league and sign a £500,000 a year contract with Bath, would need to keep playing for 67 years to make what Ronaldo does in 12 months.

Read more: How much is a Rugby World Cup win worth to a player?

Football's financial might is further demonstrated by the fact that West Ham's Kiwi defender Winston Reid earns more than legends of New Zealand's national game such as Carter, Richie McCaw and Sonny Bill Williams with a salary worth £3.1m.

Seven of the nine highest-paid players play in the French Top 14 league, which has a higher salary cap than its competitors and enjoys the most lucrative TV deal in rugby worth just under £60m a year.

In contrast, the Premier League's latest deal with Sky and BT is worth £1.71bn a year


Player Nationality Club Salary
Dan Carter New Zealand Racing Metro £1,400,000
Matt Giteau Australia Toulon £900,000
Leigh Halfpenny Wales Toulon £600,000
Sam Burgess England Bath £500,000
Johnny Sexton Ireland Leinster £500,000
Bryan Habana South Africa Toulon £474,600
Morgan Parra France Clermont £436,000
Thierry Dusautoir FRance Toulouse £408,120
Bakkies Botha South Africa Toulon £389,000

Source: Association of Accounting Technicians

Related articles