The 10 Most Valuable and Expensive World Cup Teams in 2018

The best soccer players on Earth are some of the wealthiest athletes. The players who play for big European clubs make more in a week than many people earn in a year. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, all of the world’s soccer stars are in one place and playing for their countries, for a price.

New research detailing club contracts and players’ market value reveal the 10 most valuable teams at the 2018 World Cup. The stars from one soccer-loving country (No. 8) are earning a whopping $1 billion, but they still fall short of the surprising team that tops the list at No. 1.

10. Croatia

Croatian World Cup team

Croatia players celebrate following victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia | Elsa/Getty Images

Total contract value: $367 million

Highest-paid player: Ivan Rakitic

We start our journey along the Adriatic coast in Croatia. Captain and midfielder Luka Modric is the more recognizable name, but according to TransferMarkt, Ivan Rakitic’s mammoth Barcelona contract is the most valuable on the team.

Next: One of the smallest countries has a shockingly big payroll.

9. Uruguay

Uruguay world cup

Jose Gimenez of Uruguay celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal with teammates during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group A | Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

 

 

Total contract value: $380 million

Highest-paid player: Luis Suarez

With only about 3.3 million people Uruguay is one of the least-populous countries in the field, but it’s also one of the most valuable teams at the 2018 World Cup. Luis Suarez’s huge Barcelona payday is the largest for Uruguay, though Edinson Cavani, Jose Gimenez, and Diego Godin are well-paid, too.

Next: You can’t ignore this country’s payroll and its $60 million per year superstar.

8. Portugal

Portugal football team

Pepe (L) of Portugal’s football team arrives in Russia to compete in the 2018 World Cup on June 9, 2018. | Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images

Total contract value: $474 million

Highest-paid player: Cristiano Ronaldo

When you have an international superstar such as Cristiano Ronaldo making more than $60 million a year in salary, you knew Portugal would show up among the most valuable teams at the 2018 World Cup. Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva have large contracts, but the rest of the team is well behind that pair when it comes to salary.

Next: You can’t talk about soccer superstars without mentioning this expensive player.

7. Argentina

Franco Armani of Argentina

Franco Armani of Argentina warm up during a training session at the team base camp on June 17, 2018, in Bronnitsy, Russia. | Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images

Total contract value: $707 million

Highest-paid player: Lionel Messi

You can’t mention well-paid soccer superstars and not mention Lionel Messi. He’s still active, yet he’s one of the richest athletes of all time. Messi and teammates Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero, and Gonzalo Higuain are all worth a ton of money on the open market, according to TransferMarkt, which is why Argentina is one of the most valuable teams at the 2018 World Cup.

Next: A high-paid trio puts this small country on our list.

6. Belgium

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between Belgium and Panama at Fisht Stadium on June 18, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.

Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between Belgium and Panama | Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Total contract value: $770 million

Highest-paid player: Kevin De Bruyne

Do you want to know why tiny Belgium makes the cut as one of the most valuable teams at the 2018 World Cup? It’s because of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Romelu Lukaku. That trio play for Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United, respectively, in the English Premier League. Those three clubs are among the most valuable in the world, and they pay their stars accordingly.

Next: The stars from this soccer-loving country are paid more than you think.

5. England

Harry Kane

England’s forward Harry Kane (up) celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between Tunisia and England | Nicolas AsfouriAFP/Getty Images

Total contract value: $892 million

Highest-paid player: Harry Kane

England hasn’t won a World Cup since hosting the tournament in 1966, but the drought isn’t impacting how much the team’s stars make from their club teams. Buoyed by Harry Kane’s huge new contract from Tottenham, England is one of the most valuable teams in the World Cup.

Next: A slew of mid-size contracts puts this team above the $900 million mark.

4. Germany

Thomas Mueller of Germany looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Germany and Mexico at Luzhniki Stadium on June 17, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.

Thomas Mueller of Germany looks on during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Germany and Mexico | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Total contract value: $901 million

Highest-paid player: Toni Kroos

We’ve encountered high-paid stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kevin De Bruyne, and Harry Kane so far, and while Germany has its share of stars it’s the slew of mid-size contracts that put it on the list. Toni Kroos earns about $94 million from Real Madrid, but Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and Timo Werner all make about the same amount from their respective clubs.

Next: A billion-dollar team that features one of the brightest stars in the game.

3. Brazil

Fan of Brazil pose during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

A fan of Brazil poses during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group A match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at FIFA Fans Fest Moscow on June 14, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. | Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Total contract value: $1 billion

Highest-paid player: Neymar

Brazilian superstar Neymar is usually mentioned in the same breath with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi when discussing the best soccer players in the world. He’s paid like it, too. Thanks to Neymar’s massive contract from Paris St. Germain, Brazil is worth about $1 billion and is one of the most valuable teams in the 2018 World Cup.

Next: Almost every player on this team is swimming in money.

2. Spain

Andres Iniesta of Spain kisses the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Spain at Fisht Stadium on June 15, 2018 in Sochi, Russia.

Andres Iniesta of Spain kisses the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Portugal and Spain | Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Total contract value: $1.06 billion

Highest-paid player: Sergio Busquets

Spain’s roster might not have the same kind of name recognition as the other teams on this list, but almost every player is swimming in money. Sergio Busquets earns a very nice living playing for Barcelona, but nine other players on the team join him making more than $60 million.

Next: The surprising No. 1 team that tops the list.

1. France

Hugo Lloris

Hugo Lloris of France during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group C match between France and Peru | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Total contract value: $1.1 billion

Highest-paid player: Kylian Mbappe

If you didn’t know it before, you know it now: France tops the list of the most valuable teams at the 2018 World Cup. Its top players play for the biggest clubs all over Europe, and nearly all of them earn healthy paychecks for their efforts.

Total contract values courtesy of HowMuch.

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