The highest wages in the Saudi Pro League

  • Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest paid athlete in the world at Al Nassr
  • Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez have all moved to Saudi Arabia
  • The Saudi Pro League has brought in some huge names
There are some high earners in the Middle East
There are some high earners in the Middle East / FAYEZ NURELDINE/GettyImages

The Saudi Pro League's desire to upset world football's current ecosystem has attracted some big names to the division.

The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2022 was a major coup and he isn't the only former Ballon d'Or winner now playing in Saudi Arabia, with Karim Benzema also competing in the division.

For these players, the drop in quality matters little given the ludicrous amounts of cash the clubs are handing out. The Public Investment Fund - who are in charge at Newcastle - now own Saudi Arabia's four biggest clubs and money will continue to be pumped into the venture.

Here are the current top ten base salaries for players in the Saudi Pro League.

10. Aymeric Laporte

Aymeric Laporte
Laporte swapped Man City for Al Nassr / Francois Nel/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £403,000
Salary: £21m

Having secured the treble with Manchester City last season, there was little else that Aymeric Laporte could achieve in England. While he was still capable of playing at an elite level, he instead opted for a bumper pay day in the Middle East.

The Spanish centre-back teamed up with the likes of Ronaldo at Al Nassr, showcasing his quality with a sensational strike from his own half against Inter Miami during the recent Riyadh Season Cup.

9. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Al Hilal)

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Milinkovic-Savic was a major coup for the Pro League / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £411,000
Salary: £21.4m

The acquisition of the talented Sergej Milinkovic-Savic was another impressive coup for the Saudi Pro League, the former Lazio midfielder making the move to Asia despite being just 29.

The Serbian international has helped guide Al Hilal to the summit of the Pro League table, shining alongside compatriot Aleksandar Mitrovic.

8. N'Golo Kante (Al Ittihad)

N'Golo Kante
Chelsea have certainly missed Kante in midfield / Getty Images/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £411,000
Salary: £21.4m

N'Golo Kante didn't get to leave Chelsea to much fanfare, having another injury-disrupted season in his last campaign at Stamford Bridge.

Knocks and bruises have upset the former Leicester star's rhythm in recent years, but he's been able to put together a run of displays in the Al Ittihad team this term.

7. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Al Hilal)

Aleksandar Mitrovic
The former Fulham striker hasn't slowed down in front of goal / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £411,000
Salary: £21.4m

Another player leaving one of Europe's elite leagues and moving to Saudi Arabia in his prime years, Aleksandar Mitrovic has unsurprisingly been banging the goals in for table toppers Al Hilal.

The powerful centre-forward is averaging just under a goal per game in the Middle East and previous employers Fulham are still missing his relentlessness in the opposition penalty area.

6. Kalidou Koulibaly (Al Hilal)

Al-Hilal v Al-Raed - Saudi Pro League
Koulibaly has teamed up with some superstars at Al Hilal / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £571,000
Salary: £29.7m

It was one season and done at Chelsea for Kalidou Koulibaly, who had become one of the best centre-backs in Europe while at Napoli.

Unfortunately for him, Koulibaly joined the Blues in a woeful transitional season during which his old team took home the Serie A title. Talk about poor timing.

After failing to convince at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were more than happy to facilitate Koulibaly's exit last summer, with the Senegalese defender finding greater success with Al Hilal.

5. Sadio Mane (Al Nassr)

Al-Nassr v Al Fateh - Saudi Pro League
Mane has found more success in the Pro League than he did the Bundesliga / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £658,000
Salary: £34.2m

The modern-day Liverpool legend endured a pretty wretched campaign with Bayern last time out, and instead of sticking around in Europe, Mane opted for the riches of the Gulf.

Die Roten were happy to take a loss on the Senegalese star, with Al Nassr snapping him up for £24m. They've also offered Mane a huge salary worth £34.2m.

The versatile forward has enjoyed his fresh start and has forged a profitable partnership with Ronaldo up top.

4. Riyad Mahrez (Al Ahli)

Al-Ahli SFC v Al Fateh - Saudi Pro League
Mahrez left Man City last summer / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £859,000
Salary: £44.7m

Riyad Mahrez finished off a magical spell at Manchester City as a treble winner, having first won the Premier League as an underdog with Leicester.

City were determined to keep the Algeria captain but his mood was affected by being snubbed for the Champions League and FA Cup finals - not appearing in either - and an offer from Al Ahli was soon accepted.

The 33-year-old has been more regularly used by his new manager in Saudi Arabia.

3. Karim Benzema (Al Ittihad)

Al-Ittihad v Al Wehda - Saudi Pro League
Benzema has been prolific in Asia / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £1.65m
Salary: £85.6m

A year removed from winning that Ballon d'Or, Karim Benzema opted to leave Real Madrid and embark on a new adventure in the Middle East.

While injuries somewhat hindered his 2022/23 season, there's no doubt the Frenchman can still compete at the very highest level, but the 36-year-old couldn't resist the monster pay packet offered to him by champions Al Ittihad.

Benzema's earnings are not as high as first reported, but he's still taking home a staggering wage at Al Ittihad.

2. Neymar (Al Hilal)

Neymar has barely featured for Al Hilal / Francois Nel/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £1.65m
Salary: £85.6m

What was it all for, eh? The whole Neymar to PSG thing, that is. Sporadically available, but mightily productive when he was, the Brazilian departed the French capital having failed to thrust Les Parisiens to their ultimate goal.

At 32, Neymar's lack of European suitors was a damning indictment of his relative fall from grace despite his remarkable talent. Thus, with Luis Enrique wishing to move on from the maverick superstar, Neymar turned to the Gulf region.

It's no surprise that the Brazilian will be earning a mammoth salary with Al Hilal, but, similarly unsurprisingly, the attacker still finds himself on the treatment table following a cruciate ligament injury sustained last October.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr)

Al-Shabab v Al-Nassr - Saudi Pro League
Ronaldo is the highest earner in the Pro League / Yasser Bakhsh/GettyImages

Weekly wage: £3.29m
Salary: £171.1m

After departing Manchester United for the second time in acrimonious fashion, Ronaldo became Saudi Arabia's first major scalp when he signed a mammoth contract with Al Nassr worth upwards of £171m a year.

The all-time great has continued to find the back of the net with great regularity in the Middle East, even if he has failed to inspire Al Nassr to a league title.

The 39-year-old is still met with great fanfare wherever he goes, with age seemingly just a number for the prolific Portuguese forward.

*Data from Capology - base salaries only.