Samuel Eto’o – $27 million
Perhaps the most recognized name in African sports, Cameroonian striker Samual Eto’o pulled home $27 million in 2013 playing for the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, though he recently plays for Chelsea on a loan deal. He brought his talents to various teams through the course of his career, including Barcelona, Real Madrid, RCD Mallorca, and Inter Milan, and has won African Player of the Year four times. He has helped represent Cameroon in numerous international competitions, and is on track to do so again this summer at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Yaya Toure – $20 million
Yaya Toure earned $20 million in 2013, making the Toure brothers the highest-paid siblings in African sports. Playing midfielder for Manchester City, he developed an enormous fan base for his physical power and crystal clear technique. Earlier in his career, Toure played for youth clubs in Côte d’Ivoire before heading to Europe to play for the likes of Baveren, Olympiacos, and Barcelona.
Didier Drogba – $17.5 million
Ivorian star Didier Drogba is the all-time top scorer for the Côte d’Ivoire national team, and has lent his talents to various teams throughout his career. Finding stardom initially in the English Premier League in Chelsea, he then moved to the Shanghai Shenhua FC and finally to Galatasaray, where he plays now in the attacker position. Making more than $20,000 per match, his net worth only expands with the numerous endorsement deals he also has.
Seydou Keita – $16.2 million
Seydou Keita is a midfielder and currently plays for the Chinese Super League club Dalian Aerbin FC, though he originally made it big during his four-year career with Barcelona. He is captain of the Malian national team and has helped represent his home country quite well in numerous African Cup of Nations tournaments.
Emmanuel Adebayor – $13.5 million
Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor has made his name in the English Premier League, playing for Arsenal and Manchester City before landing on his current team, Tottenham, in 2011. He is considered one of the most charitable athletes out there, committed to numerous projects around the world and particularly in his native Togo. Most notably, he started the SEA Foundation, a charity that helps to run educational, economic empowerment, and healthcare projects around Africa.
Frédéric Kanouté – $8.4 million
Malian Frédéric Kanouté has played for the Chinese club Beijing Goan since June 2012, though he made a name for himself earlier playing for Lyon, West Ham, and Sevilla in Europe. He has played in three consecutive African Cup of Nations tournaments, and is consistently one of the most popular football players in Mali.
Kolo Toure – $7.8 million
Ivorian Kolo Toure plays for Liverpool, though he started his career in Arsenal, where he played for seven years. He made more than 100 appearances for the Côte d’Ivoire national team, playing in the African Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup tournaments. He also has a lucrative endorsement deal with Adidas to add to his already formidable salary.
Christopher Samba – $7.5 million
Congolese defender Christopher Samba moved around a fair amount early in his career, playing in the Premier League (with the Blackburn Rovers and Loftus Road), as well as for the Russian team, Anzhi Makhachkala. Earning more than $160,000 per week, Samba easily makes the list of highest-paid African footballers, and has helped represent Democratic Republic of the Congo in many international competitions.
Michael Essien – $6.9 million
Michael Essien burst onto the international stage when played for SC Bastia in France for several seasons. He joined Chelsea in 2005, and is on loan this season to Real Madrid. Essien has helped represent Ghana in numerous international competitions, including three African Cup of Nations tournaments and the FIFA World Cup.
John Obi Mikel – $6.1 million
Nigerian John Obi Mikel joined the Premier League Club in 2006 to play midfielder for Chelsea, and has had an extremely successful career since. He has played for the Nigerian national team in the African Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup in recent tournaments, and was nominated in the African Footballer of the Year Award 2012.