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Highest-Paid Players in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

Mon 23 May 2022 | 4:30

There are plenty of Premier League players such as Mohammad Salah, Riyad Mahrez, and Saido Mane, who headed to Africa to play in the tournament for their home nations. Read on to find out more about the highest-paid players in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

African players have proved to the football world, especially in the 21st century, that they can be a great help to European teams and improve their squad enormously.

In today’s football, physicality and speed are very important, a quality that can be seen among African players. Thus, we are seeing more and more of them being decisive in the best teams of the world.

African Cup of Nations was held in Cameroon in 2021 and

Senegal

has crowned the champions, after beating

Egypt

in the penalty shoot-outs.

Highest-Paid Players in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations:

Here in this article, we want to go through the players who participated in AFCON 2021 and are currently receiving the most wages in the world among other African players.

Mohammed Salah – £200,000 per week

  • Full name: Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly

  • Date of birth: 15 June 1992 (age 29)

  • Place of birth: Nagrig, Basyoun, Egypt

  • Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Winger

  • Current team: Liverpool

Mohammed Salah

has been one of the best footballers in the whole world for almost 5 years now, alongside being one of the most valuable African players. He was fairly one of the

highest-paid players in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

.

Since he arrived in 2017 on the Merseyside, he has proven himself to be clinical for Liverpool and one of the reasons they won every possible trophy, at least once, in the past 4 years.

His influence goes far beyond the football pitch. He is a role model, now, to all African youngsters who dream to be in the top-tier teams in Europe.

His passion and enthusiasm are very much obvious whenever he wears his country’s jersey on the football pitch and in AFCON 2021, Salah was the engine for the Egypt team.

He captained his country to the final match, after heroic performances in defense and offense, and he scored 2 goals and gave out an assist during the competition. Unfortunately for Salah, they were unable to seal the deal in the penalties against Senegal and lost the final match.

Salah, however, had yet another successful shirt with Liverpool; They managed to win both domestic cup tournaments in England (FA Cup and EFL Cup), and they are second in the Premier League standings behind Manchester City has only one point more than them and there is still a match left in the Prem.

Last but not least, they are the Champions League finalist and they have to face Real Madrid on May 28 to see whether they can add to their trophy counts or not.

Salah was the second-highest-paid African player in the Premier League, behind

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

, but since the Gabonese did not participate in AFCON 2021, he couldn’t make the list.

Salah’s correct contract will end in 2023 and due to his progress, he is demanding a £400,000 per week wage from the club in order to renew his contract.

Although Liverpool is still trying to negotiate with the Egyptian king to persuade him to stay longer but reduces his financial expectations.

Thomas Partey – £200,000 per week

  • Full name: Thomas Teye Partey

  • Date of birth: 13 June 1993 (age 28)

  • Place of birth: Krobo Odumase, Ghana

  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Defensive Midfielder

  • Current team: Arsenal

Arsenal’s big man,

Thomas Partey

, is next in line with the most expensive African footballers in AFCON 2021. He receives the same amount of money from Arsenal that Salah does from Liverpool. Partey joined the Gunners in 2020 from the Spanish side, Atlético Madrid for €50 million.

Arsenal was hoping that he could be the kind of defensive midfielder for them that Patrick Viera was for them, years before and bring in the physicality that is required on a weekly bases to play in the Premier League and to play alongside their current box-to-box midfielder, Granit Xhaka.

AFCON 2021 did not go well for Partey, though. Ghana was seeded in Group C of the tournament alongside Morocco, Gabon, and Comoros, and they were the favorite to qualify for the knockout stages but unfortunately for them, after 2 losses and 1 draw, they got eliminated as the fourth team in the group.

Thomas Partey, on the other side, did well during his short trip to Cameroon. He played all three matches from start to end and he provided 2 assists, but it wasn’t enough to keep them in the competition.

Arsenal’s number five had been a valuable player for

Arteta

this season and had started every single match since the start of the season. But unfortunately missed the most important part of the season due to an injury in the past two months.

Arsenal fans hope that Partey can overcome his injury for the start of the 2022/23 season and improve their squad so that they could have a shot to be in the title race for once in a long time.

Kalidou Koulibaly – £183,000 per week

  • Full name: Kalidou Koulibaly

  • Date of birth: 20 June 1991 (age 30)

  • Place of birth:  Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France

  • Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Centre-back

  • Current team: Napoli

For the past 5 years,

Kalidou Koulibaly

has been one of the most underrated defenders in the world. He is strong, he is fast, and he is an influential leader. The 30-year-old Senegalese is one of the main reasons why Napoli has been in the title race this year. He is among the

highest-paid players in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

.

He came to the in 2014 and since then, he has been irreplaceable in the heart of the defense for the Partenopei. He was very close to leaving the club in 2018, but Napoli persuaded him to renew his contract until 2023, offering him the best possible offer that turned him into the highest-paid player in the squad. He is now worth around €45 million in the transfer market.

Koulibaly had a phenomenal tournament at AFCON 2021. Although he missed the first two matches in the group stage due to a Coronavirus infection, he returned to captain his country until the very end and proudly lifted the trophy after they beat Egypt in the penalties in the finals.

Kalidou scored the first penalty that night to show his confidence and leadership. He also made an assist in the 3-1 win over Burkina Faso in the semi-final match. Senegal is now 20th in the FIFA Men’s football teams ranking in the world and 1st in

African national teams rankings

.

Achraf Hakimi– £170,000 per week

  • Full name: Achraf Hakimi Mouh

  • Date of birth: 4 November 1998 (age 23)

  • Place of birth:  Madrid, Spain

  • Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Position(s): Right-back

  • Current team: Paris Saint-Germain

At only 23 years old

Achraf Hakimi

has proven himself to be one of the best young right-backs in the football world, right now.

As one of the

highest-paid players in 2021 Africa Cup of Nations

, Hakimi was initially part of the Real Madrid back in 2018 when they won their last trilogy trophies in the Champions League, but after that, he was loaned to Borussia Dortmund for two more years and it was there that he could develop and showcase his talent and abilities as a top-tier player and one of the best players in Africa in 2021.

After his loan spell with the German club, he was sold to the Italian club, Inter Milan. Following a wonderful season in Serie A and winning the Italian league, Inter found themselves in a bad financial situation so they eventually sold Achraf to the French side of Paris Saint-Germain for almost €65 million.

Achraf was only one of the players in the dream transfer window that PSG had in 2020. They also signed Lionel Messi,

Gianluigi Donnarumma

, and Gigi Wijnaldum from other European Giants to ensure they can finally be a contender in the Champions League.

Sadly, PSG lost in the round of 16 of the competition to Achraf’s youth club, Real Madrid. Nevertheless, playing for a giant club like PSG has its perks, as Ashraf Hakimi well knows it because he is currently getting a wage of £170,000.

Hakimi’s personal stats are considerable during Morocco’s campaign at AFCON 2021 with 2 goals and 1 assist in 5 games as a right-back. But Morocco’s journey ended in the quarter-finals of the competition after losing 2-1 in extra times to the eventual finalist, Egypt.

However, Morocco showed great character and determination during the tournament and with having a young-core team, the future looks very bright for them.

Sadio Mané – £150,000 per week

  • Full name: Sadio Mané

  • Date of birth: 10 April 1992 (age 30)

  • Place of birth:  Bambali, Sédhiou, Senegal

  • Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Forward / Winger

  • Current team: Liverpool

Sadio Mané

is another Senegalese player on our list. He also plays at the same club as Mohammad Salah does in the Premier League which is Liverpool. Mané has proven himself to be one of the best African strikers in the world, at the moment.

He had a dream of a season this year with Liverpool as they have won two domestic cups (FA Cup and EFL Cup) in the English competitions and also, they are second in the Premier league just behind the current 1st team, Manchester City, with a game at hand for each team.

Also, Mané has led his team to be in the Champions League final a game that is going to be played on May 28 in Paris against Real Madrid.

On a personal note, he has scored 22 goals and provided 5 assists this season as a Liverpool player in 49 games in all competitions, and he has turned into Klopp’s first choice as a center forward. That is why he is, well-deservingly, one of the highest-paid players in the club.

His contract ends at the end of next season and Liverpool is trying to either keep him with a fair negotiation or sell him for at least €80 million, which is double the amount Liverpool initially bought him back in 2016.

Just like his countryman, Koulibaly, his AFCON 2021 ended with a championship. While Koulibaly sorted out defensive responsibilities, Mané dealt with offensive responsibilities.

He scored in the opening game for Senegal as they won 1-0. He scored two more goals and dished 2 assists in the knockout stages, including a goal and an assist in the semi-final match.

Despite missing the penalty in the 7th minute of the final match, he scored Senegal’s last penalty and signed off their victory after the extra times. Mane also won the

Best players at AFCON 2021 award

.

Nicolas Pépé – £140,000 per week

  • Full name: Nicolas Pépé

  • Date of birth: 29 May 1995 (age 26)

  • Place of birth:  Mantes-la-Jolie, France

  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Winger

  • Current team: Arsenal

Pepe

join the gunners in 2019 as a record-breaking sign from Lille for €80 million. He was supposed to be the perfect replacement for Alexis Sánchez whom arsenal had sold a year back but things are not going very well so far for Nicolas Pépé.

Although he is still one of the players who receive the most wage in the club, Pépé is not a regular starter for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, the Spanish coach, prefers Bukayo Saka to be the right winger instead of Nicolas Pépé.

The Ivorian, however, is not complaining publicly as he is a professional player and he tries to perform the best he can during the minutes he receives.

Pepe’s technical ability is no secret to football fans and he has the ability to play in both right and left-wingers for his team, but Bukayo Saka and Gabrielle Martinelli’s performances during this season have been so phenomenal that Nicolas Pepe simply has not had the chance to outperform them.

Pepes AFCON experience has not helped him either; despite scoring twice for his country and helping the Ivory Coast to qualify to the knockout stage, his team fell short in the penalties against Egypt and got eliminated.

Wilfried Zaha – £130,000 per week

  • Full name: Dazet Wilfried Armel Zaha

  • Date of birth: 10 November 1992 (age 29)

  • Place of birth:  Abidjan, Ivory Coast

  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Position(s): Winger

  • Current team: Crystal Palace

Wilfred Zaha

was once believed to be the English Cristiano Ronaldo, but things went sideways in a lot of ways for the Ivorian. Born in Ivory Coast but raised in England, Zaha played for England in youth teams but as his quality downgraded, he was never selected to be with England’s seniors.

Instead, in 2016, he decided to join his motherland’s national team, Ivory Coast. The decision was welcomed by Ivory Coast Football Federation and he has been playing for the country, ever since.

His time in England, however, did not end as he has been playing for Crystal Palace for almost 12 years now, he did transfer to Manchester United for a period of time but ended up coming back to the Eagles.

He faced a very good offer in 2019 to leave the club, but he decided to stay and renew his contract. In doing so, he turned himself into one of the highest-paid strikers in the Premier League and he was offered the captain armband.

His journey in the AFCON 2021 was not what you can call a pleasant one. His team, although played very well, got eliminated in the round of 16 of the competition by the eventual finalist, Egypt. He started only one match during 4 matches, and he assisted in that one match, as well.

Riyad Mahrez – £120,000 per week

  • Full name: Riyad Karim Mahrez

  • Date of birth: 21 February 1991 (age 31)

  • Place of birth:  Sarcelles, France

  • Height: 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)

  • Position(s): Winger

  • Current team: Manchester City

Mahrez

has not been Guardiola’s first attacking option in the Premier League this season as he has only started 13 out of 34, but Mahrez showcased his brilliance in all the games he played.

He has influenced 33 goals in all competitions directly, either by scoring or giving out the assist, a number that is above many top European strikers.

His unique style of play allows to him break any defensive line and find spaces that are left out. He plays as a right-winger and he is one of the few players that Guardiola doesn’t change their position as he is comfortable and efficient in his place. That being said, he is 9th on the salary list for his club.

Mahrez and Algeria went to Cameroon to defend their 2019 AFCON championship. They had seeded in Group E alongside, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast.

While everyone thought Algeria had an easy group and they could compete with Africa’s bests, Algeria got eliminated very quickly after 2 losses and a draw in the group stage and was placed in the 4th place in the group. Mahrez played all three games fully but couldn’t stop the humiliation of his team in any manner.

Naby Keïta – £120,000 per week

  • Full name: Naby Laye Keïta

  • Date of birth: 10 February 1995 (age 27)

  • Place of birth:  Conakry, Guinea

  • Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)

  • Position(s): Central midfielder

  • Current team: Liverpool

Another Liverpool player on the list is

Naby Keita

. He signed with Liverpool in 2018, after two successful seasons at RB Leipzig for a fee of €60.00m. Although he struggled a lot with injuries in his two first seasons, he has now turned out to be a valuable player for Klopp in his 4-3-3 as a box-to-box midfielder.

Keita’s ability to read the game and keep the rhythm of the play is world-class. This season he has helped Liverpool to have a reliable and secure midfield trio alongside Thiago and Fabinho.

Keita is also a very key player in his national team. Guinea came to the AFCON tournament with high hopes for their young squad and with the leadership of Naby Keita. They advanced to the round of 16 after finishing second in Group B, after Senegal.

To prove Keita’s importance, Guinea failed to go to the next round after facing the Gambia in the round of 16 and losing the game 1-0 without their captain, Naby Keita, who was absent due to a yellow card suspension. Had Keita not received a yellow card in the 91st minute of the last group match, things might have gone differently for his country.

Idrissa Gueye – £99,000 per week

  • Full name: Idrissa Gana Gueye

  • Date of birth: 26 September 1989 (age 32)

  • Place of birth:  Dakar, Senegal

  • Height: 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Midfielder

  • Current team: Paris Saint-Germain

Idrissa Gueye

, AKA Gana, is a Senegalese midfielder for PSG. He was purchased by the Parisian in 2019 from Everton, following his captivating performances for the English side. Gana was never a regular starter during the past three seasons with PSG as the traffic is very heavy in his position.

Danilo, Verratti, Herrera, Wijnaldum, Parades, and Xavi Simmons all play in the same position, and Gana, while showing promising performances, has not yet fully got the grasp of maintaining a level of play that is required to play in the highest level possible, one week after the other.

In the national team, however, due to the lack of quality players superior to him, Gana can shine very well, Just as he did in AFCON 2021. He started all the games except one throughout the tournament and even scored in the semi-final match.

He also has a more unbound role in the national team that allows him to move around in the midfield freely and control the pace of the plays. His contribution to this championship by Senegal will surely be remembered by the younger generation of football lovers in Senegal.

Abdou Diallo – £92,000 per week

  • Full name: Abdou-Lakhad Diallo

  • Date of birth: 4 May 1996 (age 26)

  • Place of birth:  Tours, France

  • Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Centre-back

  • Current team:  Paris Saint-Germain

Diallo

also joined Paris Saint-Germain in the same transfer window Idrissa Gueye did in 2019. The two had almost the exact story; Diallo, too, never made it as a starter for PSG due to the presence of players with better performances.

Regardless, Diallo has been a very useful multi-positional player in defense, he can play as a center-back as well as on both right and left sides.

In AFCON 2021, he was playing alongside Koulibaly in the heart of defense to secure the threats. They did a marvelous job in doing so as Senegal conceded only 2 goals in the whole tournament.

Diallo not only helped his team defend but also scored the first goal in the 3-1 win over Burkina Faso in the semi-finals. Furthermore, he scored the second penalty against Egypt in the final match, too.

Eric Bailly – £80,000 per week

  • Full name: Eric Bertrand Bailly

  • Date of birth: 12 April 1994 (age 28)

  • Place of birth: Bingerville, Ivory Coast

  • Height: 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Centre-back

  • Current team: Manchester United

Manchester United defender, Eric Bailly is next on the list. With all due respect to Bailly and his talent, statistically, he is the least deserving player on our list.

He played only 7 games in all competitions for the red devils in their horrifying season this year. He was either injured, not on the list, or sat on the bench for the majority of the season and he is probably going to be sold by United this summer.

His AFCON 2021 performances were not to be remembered as well, unfortunately. Although he started the first two games, he was rested by the coach in the third game as Ivory Coast had already advanced to the round of 16.

But even there, after 120 minutes of football and going to the penalty shoot-outs against Egypt, Bailly missed his penalty and caused Egypt to advance as they won 4-5 in the penalties.

Bertrand Traoré – £78,000 per week

  • Full name: Bertrand Isidore Traoré

  • Date of birth: 6 September 1995 (age 26)

  • Place of birth:  Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso

  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Position(s): Forward / Winger

  • Current team: Aston Villa

After finishing the 2020/21 season with 8 goals and 7 assists along with eye-catching performances, Aston Villa fans were expecting the 2021/22 season to be a break-out season for their 26-year-old winger, Bertrand Traoré, but things didn’t go as planned.

Traoré started the season well but after 6 games, he was severely injured and didn’t play for almost 3 months. Even after his injury and with the arrival of a new coach, Steven Gerrard, Traoré was not playing regularly and ended as a benchwarmer for the remainder of the season.

AFCON 2021, however, was a turning point for Traoré, or at least a major boost to his morale. Burkina Faso entered the tournament as an unknown team but it was their courageous and attacking style of play that surprised everyone.

They qualified to the knockout stage as underdogs and they went all the way up to the semi-finals until the eventual champions, Senegal pull their brakes. Burkina Faso eliminated Gabon and Tunisia on their journey and lost to the hosts, Cameroon in the Third-place play-off match.

Traoré scored once and gave away 2 assists as he captained his national team in four matches, out of the five matches he played.

Wilfred Ndidi – £75,000 per week

  • Full name: Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi

  • Date of birth: 16 December 1996 (age 25)

  • Place of birth:  Lagos, Nigeria

  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Defensive midfielder

  • Current team: Leicester City

Nigerian destroyer,

Ndidi

had a roller coaster of a season this past year. He started the season strong and he was a regular starter for the foxes and performed outstandingly in his position.

Cometh the AFCON 2021 tournament, Ndidi, and other Nigerian players felt really confident and optimistic about coming to the games. After three consecutive wins in the group stage, everyone was talking about Nigeria being a real threat to other teams and a contender to win the cup. Abnormally, they lost 1-0 to Tunisia in the Round of 16 and got eliminated from the tournament.

Ndidi came back from Cameroon to Leicester in order to forget the pain but just as he was starting to incline, he suffered from a terrible, season-ending knee injury that he is still trying to recover from.

Ndidi, although injured, has received offers from top-tier clubs in Europe but Leicester has put a €50 million price tag on their 25-year-old, a price that might persuade others to wait for at least one more year to see how the Nigerian can develop and improve.

Bouna Sarr – £69,000 per week

  • Full name: Bouna Junior Sarr

  • Date of birth: 31 January 1992 (age 30)

  • Place of birth:  Lyon, France

  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)

  • Position(s): Right back

  • Current team: Bayern Munich

After playing 5 successful seasons for

Marseille

, the 30-year-old Senegalese accepted the offer of 6 times UEFA Champions League winners, Bayern Munich, and joined one of the best clubs in the world in the summer of 2020.

Sarr was initially bought to be a starter as a right-back in Bayern Munich but for the past two years, he has played barely 30 matches for FC Hollywood, while earning more than their captain, Manuel Neuer.

Sarr was able to prove himself in the AFCON 2021 and he played as a starter on the right-hand side of the defense for the Senegal national team in all of their 7 matches from their opening match until the final match. Senegal eventually won the tournament and Bouna Sarr won a trophy that he actually dedicated to helping his team win it.

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source: SportMob

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