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The Highest-Paid UEFA Europa League Players: Mo Salah, Cody Gakpo And More

A club football competition with over 50 years of heritage, the UEFA Europa League crown is one of the grandest prizes in the European footballing landscape. The tournament sees top football stars setting the field alight with impeccable performances every season. Therefore, many fans of the sport have one question in their minds: who are the highest-paid players in the Europa League?

Albeit regarded as a second-tier competition (the UEFA Champions League is the top-tier intercontinental tournament in Europe), the UEFA Europa League has stood witness to several footballing miracles over the years. Clubs like Liverpool FC, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, FC Barcelona, Sevilla FC, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, AC Milan and several other behemoths of European football have all featured in this tournament in the past (a few of them featured in the 2023-24 season). A few of them have enjoyed the ecstasy of lifting the coveted silverware, while others have only suffered from the agony of faltering on the big stage.

The involvement of some of the big guns of European (and in turn, global) club football inevitably brings top talents to the league. It is also interesting to note that the teams which finish in the third spot in each group of the Champions League are relegated to the Europa League where they take on the second-placed teams from the latter’s group stage in the Round of 32. This, in effect, means that even the players who participate in the top-tier European club football competition have a chance to feature in the Europa League.

As another UEFA Europa League heads towards its knockout phase, we take a look at the highest-paid players in the European club competition. The curation has been made based on the players’ annual salaries.

Which players draw the highest salaries in the UEFA Europa League?

Mohamed Salah

highest paid uefa players
Picture Credits: Courtesy Mohamed Salah/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 22.9 million

The king of Egyptian football, Mohamed Salah (or Mo Salah, as he is often called in the footballing fraternity) has been the flag-bearer of Liverpool FC for quite some time now. Often regarded as one of the greatest African footballers of all time and ranked among the best players of his generation, the talismanic forward has enjoyed widespread success at the Merseyside club. From the prestigious UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup to the Premier League, there are hardly a few big prizes in club football that Egypt’s captain hasn’t won.

In the 2023-24 summer transfer window, Salah generated interest from the Saudi Pro League clubs. Speculations were rife about Al-Ittihad making an offer for the forward, which involved a mind-boggling annual salary of — wait for it — USD 82 million! However, the rumours were dismissed by the player’s agent, who maintained that Salah remains committed to Liverpool FC.

As a matter of fact, Salah signed a three-year contract with the Merseyside team in 2022, which saw him become the highest-paid player in the club’s history (by extension, it also makes him the highest-paid player in the UEFA Europa League 2023-24).

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Virgil van Dijk

UEFA Europa League
Picture Credits: Courtesy Virgil van Dijk/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 14.5 million

Much of Liverpool FC’s success in the recent past is attributed to Virgil van Dijk, who has been one of the pillars of the English club side. The Dutch defender, who now captains both Liverpool and the Netherlands national team, is best known for his speed, agility, physical strength and innate leadership skills.

Van Dijk is the only defender to date who has won the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award (in 2019). He also finished as the runner-up in the race to both the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Best Men’s Player in 2019. In 172 appearances for Liverpool FC, van Dijk has also found the back of the net on 16 occasions.

Even though he is a European by both birth and nationality, he has Asian roots. According to several sources, the Dutch footballer’s mother, Hellen Chin Fo Sieeuw, is of part-Chinese descent.

Alisson

highest paid uefa players
Picture Credits: Courtesy Alisson Becker/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 13.1 million

Widely regarded as one of the best shot-stoppers in the world at present, Alisson Becker (or Alisson) is a wall that has been guarding Liverpool FC’s goal for over five years. In fact, it was the Brazilian goalkeeper’s arrival at the Merseyside club that saw its fortune turn overnight — against most people’s expectations, Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League title in 2018-19, defeating fellow Premier League counterpart Tottenham Hotspur in the final.

The Reds followed their continental success by winning the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup titles in the next few months. However, their greatest moment of glory came at the end of the 2019-20 season when the side lifted the Premier League title, becoming the champions of England for the first time in 30 years.

Besides tasting success in European club football, Alisson won the Copa America crown in 2019 with the Brazilian national team. With an ice-cool head in one-on-one situations, the Brazilian is one tough nut to crack. He was also the recipient of the inaugural edition of the Yashin Trophy in 2019.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

UEFA Europa League
Picture Credits: Courtesy Trent Alexander-Arnold/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 11.8 million

A home-grown product of Liverpool FC (he joined the Liverpool academy in 2004), Trent Alexander-Arnold ranks among the finest defenders in the modern era. The young Englishman primarily plays as a right-back and is revered for his range of passing, both aerially and along the ground. Owing to such capabilities, he has also featured for both his club and the national side in the midfield on multiple occasions.

While he suffered a heartbreak in the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League final (Liverpool FC lost to Real Madrid in that match), Alexander-Arnold returned on the same stage with the Merseyside club a year later, this time emerging as the champions of European club football. The English defender has tasted great success ever since — to date, he has won seven major titles with Liverpool FC.

For a player of Alexander-Arnold’s calibre, it comes as no surprise that one of the best right-backs of his generation also ranks among the richest players in the UEFA Europa League.

Alexis Mac Allister

UEFA Europa League
Picture Credits: Courtesy Alexis Mac Allister/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 9.9 million

One of the biggest news of the 2023-24 summer transfer window was the signing of Argentine midfielder Alexis Mac Allister by Liverpool FC. The youngster, hailing from Santa Rosa, enjoyed a life-altering 12 months from June 2022 — after winning the Finalissima 2022, Mac Allister got the opportunity to lift the grandest prize in football, the FIFA World Cup, six months later. He was instrumental in Argentina’s World Cup win, providing an assist for a goal in the final against France. The Argentine finished the 2022-23 season as Brighton and Hove Albion’s leading goal scorer (10 goals) and helped the side finish sixth in the Premier League and qualify for the UEFA Europa League in 2023-24.

Mac Allister’s exploits on the field in 2022-23 prompted Liverpool FC to make a move for him in the 2023-24 summer transfer window. The Reds eventually landed him in their side and offered him nearly thrice the salary he received at Brighton, making him one of the highest-paid players in the Liverpool squad and the UEFA Europa League.

Ryan Gravenberch

UEFA Europa League
Picture Credits: Courtesy Ryan Jiro Gravenberch/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 9.9 million

Signing midfielders was a priority for Liverpool FC in the 2023-24 summer transfer window. To that end, the Premier League outfit made the most of its financial resources in acquiring the services of young, prolific midfielders — players who can become an asset for the club in the long run instead of having an impact right away. One such player is Ryan Gravenberch, the Dutch central midfielder whom Liverpool signed in the wee hours of the transfer window deadline day.

Having played for Ajax and Bayern Munich in the past, Gravenberch has impressed fans and experts alike with performance for the English side so far. Even though he hasn’t been able to add a goal to his name in the 2023-24 season yet, the Dutch footballer has been thorough with his passes. He even bagged an assist for a goal in Liverpool’s 3-1 win against LASK in the UEFA Europa League.

Diogo Jota

UEFA Europa League
Picture Credits: Courtesy Diogo Jota/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 9.2 million

In a bid to bolster its squad after winning the Premier League title in 2019-20 so they can successfully defend their crown, Liverpool FC brought in Diogo Jota from the Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2020. Even though the Merseyside club failed to be on the footballing throne of England for long (Manchester City won three successive Premier League titles starting from 2020-21), the Portuguese forward proved to be a valuable addition to the side.

A winner of the inaugural UEFA Nations League title with Portugal (in 2019), Jota scored 13 goals in his debut season at Liverpool. The following year, he raised his bar, netting the ball in the goal 21 times in 55 appearances for the club. On the back of Jota’s impressive performance throughout the season, Liverpool completed the domestic double of winning the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup, they finished second in the Premier League and ended up as the runners of the UEFA Champions League after losing to Real Madrid in the final.

Dominik Szoboszlai

UEFA Europa League
Picture Credits: Szoboszlai Dominik/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 7.9 million

A youngster filled with potential, Dominik Szoboszlai was one of the big signings by Liverpool FC in the 2023-24 summer transfer window as Jurgen Klopp, the club’s manager, tried to give his side’s midfield a new look. And the Hungarian national team’s captain lived up to the expectations fans had from him — in the season’s infancy, he formed a lethal partnership alongside the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister.

However, as the season progressed, Szoboszlai seemed to find it difficult to match the ever-increasing pace of English football. He even failed to make much impact as a substitute in the club’s UEFA Europa League encounter against Toulouse FC on November 9 (Liverpool FC ended up losing that match by a margin of 1-0). If the rumours in the transfer market are true, the Merseyside club might look to put the Hungarian midfielder up for sale in the 2023-24 winter transfer window (which opens on 1 January 2024) and look for alternatives to fill the void.

Jarrod Bowen

UEFA Europa League
Picture Credits: Courtesy Jarrod Bowen/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 7.9 million

In this Liverpool FC-dominated list, the only player to not feature for the Reds is Jarrod Bowen. The English forward, who plays for Premier League side West Ham United, has found his best form under the club manager David Moyes’ guidance. Bowen has scored 49 goals in 174 matches for West Ham to date.

The Englishman was named West Ham United’s Player’s Player of the Year in 2021-22 for scoring 18 goals in 51 matches. He was also instrumental in helping his side secure a UEFA Europa Conference League berth in 2022-23. The following season, Bowen scored 13 goals in 54 matches and was one of the key players in the West Ham side that won the Europa Conference League. By virtue of this trophy win, West Ham also qualified for the UEFA Europa League in 2023-24.

Cody Gakpo

highest paid uefa players
Picture Credits: Courtesy Cody Gakpo ✝️/Instagram

Annual salary in 2023: USD 7.9 million

Summing up the list of the highest-paid players in the UEFA Europa League is Cody Gakpo, the Dutch prodigy who plays for Liverpool FC. A versatile attacking player, Gakpo possesses the potential to play as a centre-forward, attacking midfielder or a left-winger, according to the demands of the team. He was a part of the Eredivisie outfit PSV Eindhoven’s academy and played for the club from 2018 to 2023. In 2021-22, Gakpo scored 21 goals in 47 matches for the Dutch club, and at the end of the season, he won the Dutch Footballer of the Year award.

Besides playing a crucial role for his club sides, Gakpo has been successful in the international sphere as well. The Dutch footballer first started for the Netherlands senior side in a 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Norway. He scored in three consecutive group-stage matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar.

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(Hero Image Credits: Courtesy Mohamed Salah/Instagram and Jarrod Bowen/Instagram; Featured Image Credits: Courtesy Mohamed Salah/Instagram)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Which player has won the most Europa League titles? 
Spanish player Jose Antonio Reyes has won the most Europa League titles (five wins).

– What is the biggest win margin in the Europa League? 
Valencia’s win over Rapid Wien (by 10-0) in the 2015-16 tournament remains the biggest win margin in the Europa League.

– Which sport pays the most in the world?
Football ranks among the highest-paying sporting disciplines in the world along with basketball and wrestling.

– Who is the highest-paid footballer in 2023?
Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid footballer in the world in 2023.