For better or for worse (in most cases worse) Football is a game of money, as evidenced by Cristiano Ronaldo's ascension to become the sporting world's first ever billionaire. $t**id, exorbitant, enough to make even the most hardened capitalist feel a bit uncomfortable sort of money.
But it is what it is, with endless reserves of questionable cash pouring into the sport on a daily basis. And that means the market for the game's most talented players, long seen as one of the biggest problems of the modern game, is still spiralling way out of control. While it was just a few years ago that million-dollar transfer fees were breaking records, clubs can now command nine-figure transfer fees for their most valuable stock.
Every year the numbers get more and more staggering, but what may surprise you is that the game's most historically valuable (and still highest-paid) players, aren't necessarilly seen as such any more. According to Swiss organization CIES Football Observatory, which charts the values of football players and clubs annually, Lionel Messi is only the 21st most valuable player in the world, while the aforementioned Ronaldo sits 70th.
Instead, it's the most recent generation of talent having broken through the ranks and changed the way the game is played as they've done so, that now boast some of the biggest price tags ever seen in any sport. Here are the 10 most valuable footballers in the world this year.
Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain) - Transfer value: $293 million
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) - Transfer value: $219 million
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) - Transfer value: $202 million
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool FC) - Transfer value: $193 million
Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) - Transfer value: $172 million
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool FC) - Transfer value: $164 million
Sadio Mané (Liverpool FC) - Transfer value: $157 million
Antoine Griezmann (FC Barcelona) - Transfer value: $154 million
Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) - Transfer value: $151 million
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) - Transfer value: $133 million