Who are the highest paid footballers? Argentine professional footballer, Lionel Messi is the world’s highest paid footballer, followed by David Beckham of England and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, according to France Football magazine. The Barcelona talisman Messi earns some 33 million euros ($43.5 million) a year with a 10.5-million-euro salary, 1.5 million euros in bonuses and 21 million euros in advertising and other contracts.
12 Lionel Messi
2012 Earnings: €33 Million (£27.5m)
2011 Earnings: €31 Million
Net worth: $110 Million - (estimated)
Current Club: FC Barcelona
The Barcelona star topped his €33 million earnings from the Spanish giants with sponsorship deals from the likes of adidas and Pepsi.
11 David Beckham
2012 Earnings: €31.5 Million (£26.2m)
2011 Earnings: €19 million
Net worth: £160 Million or $260m - As of May 2012, according to the Sunday Times UK Rich List
Current Club: Los Angeles Galaxy
Becks, 36, collected €31.5 million and maintained his high profile despite plying his trade in America with LA Galaxy. His endorsement deal with Adidas is the biggest in the sport thanks to royalties from soccer apparel and cleats as well as lifestyle lines like ObyO. In May 2011 he signed a deal with Samsung to become the company's global brand ambassador for the Games.
10 Cristiano Ronaldo
2012 Earnings: €29.2 Million (£24.3m)
2011 Earnings: €27.5 million
Net worth: $160 Million - (estimated)
Current Club:Real Madrid
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo had to settle for third and €29.2m despite leading the scoring charts in La Liga with 32 goals in 26 games this season. Using social media to expand his brand. With 26 million Facebook fans, twice as many as any other athlete and 3 million Twitter followers; which is part of the attraction for sponsors like Nike, Armani, Coca-Cola and Castrol.
9 Samuel Eto'o
2012 Earnings:€23.3 Million (£19.4m)
2011 Earnings: €13 Million
Net worth: $50 Million - (estimated)
Current Club: FC Anzhi Makhachkala
Over the past 12 months the Cameroonian striker added Puma and Ford as sponsors. Has much to be proud of – in the wake of his Champion League success with Barcelona and Inter Milan. He is Africa's most decorated footballer of all time; has won the African Player of the Year award a record four times; in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010.
The former Inter Milan striker joined Russian soccer club FC Anzhi Makhachkala in a three-year deal with an annual salary of €20.5 million Euros or $28.8 million at current exchange rates. The deal made Eto'o the highest-paid player in the history of soccer in term of club salary. Dwarfing the the €13 million ($19m) Cristiano Ronaldo earns at Real Madrid and the €10.5 million Lionel Messi is paid by Barcelona. Anzhi reached an agreement with Internazionale at $38.9 million transfer fee on 23 August 2011.
Anzhi is owned by Russian investor Suleiman Kerimov, who is the 118th richest person in the world with a net worth of $7.8 billion.
8 Wayne Rooney
2012 Earnings:€20.6 Million (£17.2m)
2011 Earnings: €20.7 million
Net worth: £45 Million or $72m - As of May 2012, according to the Sunday Times UK Rich List
Current Club: Manchester United
He lost his £600,000-a-year contract with Coca-Cola. He is back on form, the Manchester United striker was the Premier League's top earner with €20.6m (£17.2m). He picks up £8m at Old Trafford a season from his latest five-year contract and, although he ran into trouble with Coca-Cola last year following off-the-field problems, commercial interest in the England star remains strong. Remaining sponsors include Nike and Electronic Arts.
7 Sergio Aguero
2012 Earnings: €18.8 Million (£15.7m)
Net worth: £37 million or $59m - As of May 2011, according to the Sunday Times UK Rich List
Current Club: Manchester City
Argentine footballer Sergio Aguero is currently playing as a striker for both Premier League club Manchester City and the Argentine national team. Aguero drew the attention of Europe's top clubs after he moved from Independiente to La Liga side Atletico Madrid in 2006. In July 2011, the player joined Manchester City for a five-year deal said to be worth £35 million (€42.35 million), making him the most expensive footballer in the club's history.
6 Yaya Touré
2012 Earnings: €17.6 Million (£14.7m)
2011 Earnings: €13.8 Million
Net Worth: £12 Million or $19m - As of May 2012, according to Sunday Times UK Rich List
Current Club: Manchester City
Midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the Côte d'Ivoire national team. His the junior brother of Kolo Touré, also his teammate at Côte d'Ivoire and Manchester City. Touré was awarded the award for African Footballer of the Year 2011. Touré moved from Barcelona to Manchester City in 2010 for a transfer fee of about £24 million (€29 million) and the five-year contract is estimated at a staggering £55.6 million (€67.3 million). The defensive midfielder quickly adapted himself to the new environment, showing his remarkable capabilities in attacking as well as defending.
5 Fernando Torres
2012 Earnings: €16.7 Million (£13.9m)
2011 Earnings: €14 Million
Net Worth: £21 Million or $33.5m - As of May 2012, according to Sunday Times UK Rich List
Current Club: Chelsea
Spanish footballer who plays as a striker for Chelsea and the Spain national team, From Atlético Madrid, to Liverpool, and now Chelsea, Torres has been recognized as a world-class striker. In January 2011, Torres joined Chelsea for a record British transfer fee of £50 million (€60.5 million) on a five-and-a-half year contract, making him the most expensive Spanish player in history.
4 Ricardo Kaka
2012 Earnings: €15.5 million (£12.9m)
2011 Earnings: €19.3 Million
Net worth: $100 Million - (estimated)
Current Club: Real Madrid
Brazilian football attacking midfielder who is currently playing for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team. The Brazilian midi was featured on the cover of EA Sports FIFA Soccer 11. The FIFA franchise has sold 100 million units of the popular soccer game for Electronic Arts. Kaka's major sponsors included Adidas, Giorgio Armani and Guarana.
3 Philipp Lahm
2012 Earnings: €16.7 Million (£11.9m)
2011 Earnings: €14 Million
Current Club: Bayern Munich
German professional footballer who plays for and captains both Bayern Munich and the Germany national team. Lahm is now recognized as one of the best full backs in the world. The right-footed player is able to play on both sides of the pitch, and is now mostly playing as a left-wing-back.
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[Source: France Football magazine]