Lionel Messi, one of the most valuable soccer players on the planet.
- A prominent research group, the CIES Football Observatory, has updated its list of the most valuable soccer players in Europe's best leagues.
- There are now 37 athletes who are valued at R1 billion or more.
- Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are sliding down the list because of age, which means younger talent have leapfrogged them near the top.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi may be the most famous soccer players on the planet, but their transfer value is waning with age and they have been leapfrogged by the sport's brightest talents.
Identifying a player's transfer value is never easy, but a prominent research group in Switzerland - the CIES Football Observatory - has done just that by updating its list of 100 big-five league players with the highest valuations according to its own algorithm.
Only considering players from England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga, and France's Ligue 1, in order to calculate a player's value in the current transfer market, the Observatory has been monitoring soccer transactions since 2010, speaking to market actors (club executives operating in elite soccer), and studying factors like playing activity, the club the athlete plays for, the athlete's age, playing position, and economic level of the releasing club.
The findings are interesting, not least because there are now 37 players worth R1.3 billion ($100 million) or more, but also because there are a number of new faces - and teenagers - who are capable of improving further and enhancing their worth in the transfer market.
Here are the 37 most valuable soccer players competing in Europe right now, ranked in ascending order:
37: Atlético Madrid midfielder Saúl Ñíguez is worth R1.41 billion (€90.2 million).
36: Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford is worth R1.42 billion (€90.4 million).
35: Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi is worth €91.8 million ($105.8 million).
34: Tottenham Hotspur defender Davinson Sánchez is worth R1.44 billion (€93.6 million).
33: Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min is worth R1.47 billion (€93.9 million).
32: Liverpool FC defender Virgil van Dijk is worth R1.49 billion (€95 million).
31: Arsenal FC striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is worth R1.5 billion (€95.4 million).
30: Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is worth R1.5 billion (€95.6 million).
29: Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kanté is worth R1.53 billion (€97.2 million).
28: FC Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen is worth R1.54 billion (€98 million).
27: Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson Moraes is worth R1.57 billion (€100.1 million).
26: Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte is worth R1.64 billion (€104.3 million).
25: AS Napoli striker Lorenzo Insigne is worth R1.64 billion (€104.7 million).
24: Liverpool FC goalkeeper Alisson Becker is worth R1.66 billion (€105.6 million).
23: FC Barcelona striker Luis Suárez is worth R1.71 billion (€109.3 million).
22: Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho is worth R1.77 billion (€112.6 million).
21: Liverpool FC defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is worth R2.12 billion (€117.2 million).
20: FC Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembélé is worth R1.89 billion (€120.3 million).
19: Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo is worth R2 billion (€127.2 million).
18: Chelsea forward Eden Hazard is worth R2.02 billion (€129 million).
17: Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is worth R2.04 billion (€130.3 million).
16: Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva is worth R2.09 billion (€133.2 million).
15: Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus is worth R2.11 billion (€134.6 million).
14: Liverpool FC winger Sadio Mané is worth R2.15 billion (€137.4 million).
13: Liverpool FC striker Roberto Firmino is worth R2.28 billion (€145.6 million).
12: Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli is worth R2.35 billion (€150.2 million).
11: Atlético Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann is worth R2.43 billion (€155.2 million).
10: Manchester City winger Leroy Sané is worth R2.45 billion (€156.1 million).
9: FC Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho is worth R2.46 billion (€157 million).
8: Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is worth R2.54 billion (€162 million).
7: FC Barcelona forward Lionel Messi R2.69 billion (€171.2 million).
6: Juventus forward Paulo Dybala R2.7 billion (€171.9 million).
5: Liverpool FC striker Mohamed Salah is worth R2.89 billion (€184.3 million).
4: Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling is worth R2.91 billion (€185.8 million).
3: Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar is worth R3 billion (€197.1 million).
2: Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is valued at R3.14 billion (€200.3 million).
1: Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé is currently the most valuable player, worth a whopping R3.43 billion (€218.5 million).
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