Mystery Solved: What do players get when they win the World Cup?

Fame, glory, immortality, the gratitude of an ecstatic nation. The intangibles of what a player gets when they help their nation to a World Cup triumph are well understood. But what do players actually get when they achieve the honor of lifting the coveted Jules Rimet trophy at the end of the tournament?

Prize money

With a total of $400 million to be shared between teams competing in Russia, there is substantial prize money on offer not just for winning, but even just for participating in this summer’s World Cup. Making it to the tournament in the first place is worth $9.5M, $8M for participating in the group stage and $1.5M for tournament costs.

Teams that make it through the group to the Round of 16 get another $4M bump.

Making it past the first knockout round into the quarters gets you another $4M. Teams that get out of the quarters and into the final four receive different amounts, depending on how well they do.

Even the teams that fail in the semis and play in the third-place match do pretty well, with the winner netting $24M and the loser getting $22M.

Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates with the FIFA World Cup Trophy and team-mates after winning the FIFA World Cup Final at the Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janerio, Brazil. (Getty Images)

The team that loses the final next month at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium will still take home $28M.

What about the prize money for going all the way?

The team that’s ultimately crowned the winner of the 2018 World Cup final will take home $38M in prize money.

Bonus payments

On top of the prize money on offer from FIFA, each nation’s soccer federation offers bonuses and financial incentives based on how well a team does and individual player performances. The amount of these bonus payments to individual players varies from association to association. Often it’s the players’ representatives who negotiate the amounts with the associations.

Expectations also play a role in determining who gets paid what. Teams that are expected to challenge for the title, like Germany or Brazil for instance, aren’t likely to get paid much just for making the Round of 16 or the quarters. Smaller teams, on the other hand, who might be pleased just to make it out of their group, will typically receive greater bonuses for making the knockout rounds.

Defending champion Germany will reportedly receive $9.3M should it retain the title. Divvied up between the 23 members of the squad, that would amount to about $407,000 each.

England meanwhile, would receive $6.61M for bringing the trophy home for the first time since 1966, amounting to a payout of $284K for each player on the squad.

What, no trophy?

One thing the winning team at the World Cup does not take home is the trophy itself. While winning teams are allowed to hoist it aloft and party with it for an hour or two, the iconic Jules Rimet trophy is quickly returned to FIFA following the trophy ceremony and celebrations. Instead, the winning team will go home with a gold-plated replica of the actual trophy.

This is likely a result of the numerous times the trophy has been stolen in the past, most notably, in 1966, when it was spirited away from a public exhibition in London, only to turn up wrapped in newspaper in some bushes a few days later.

Unlike in American sports, where we tend to give out championship rings, players in World Cup winning teams receive medals.

The FIFA World Cup 2014 winners medal worn by a Germany player (Getty Images)

Although up until 1978, only players who appeared in the actual final match would receive a medal. FIFA changed that rule in 2007 and players on winning teams who had not appeared in the finals prior to 1978 were retroactively awarded medals.

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