Four leagues and eight clubs share among them the 11 soccer players with the highest salary in the Footballing world.
The 12 Million Dollars Bunch
Franck Ribery – 12 Million Dollars
Despite the impressive statistical output Ribery gave this year (7 goals, 14 assists), any year that Bayern Munich finish without the Bundesliga title is a disappointing one. The tragic exit in the Champions League against Inter didn’t sweeten the blow. Ribery rebounded rather well after the terrible summer with the French national team, but life without Arjen Robben was difficult for him and Bayern for long stretches this season. His usual injury, limiting him to 25 league games, didn’t help either.
Samuel Eto’o – 12 Million Dollars
Personally, it was sort of a rebound year for Eto’o. He flourished under both Benitez and Leonardo, finishing the season with 21 league goals and 37 in all competitions. Inter did miss out on the title for the first time in ages, but that post treble syndrome was bound to happen, especially with the best head coach in the world leaving them. It seems that Inter’s big guns are looking for new challenges and horizons, and Eto’o among them. Maybe Arsenal next?
Carlos Tevez – 12 Million Dollars
Unlike Inter, it seems Manchester City are going in the right direction – finally making it to the Champions League. Next up – a title challenge. Carlos Tevez has been the best thing at Eastlands these past two seasons, scoring 43 league goals but never looking too happy about it. Talks of retirement, moving back to Argentina and constant on-pitch feuds with manager Roberto Mancini. Still, despite all the talk of not wanting to stay, there aren’t many rumors of buyers for Tevez flying around.
Emmanuel Adebayor – 12 Million Dollars
A year on loan in Madrid did some good for the Togolese striker. He didn’t seem himself ever since that January 2010 incident, in which the Togolese national team, riding a bus, were attacked by rebels in Angola, killing three men on the bus. He scored only goal in eight matches in the Premier League this season. A move to Spain seemed to do him some good, looking happier, more motivated. He scored 8 goals for Real Madrid, unable to help them win the title or the Champions League.
The Slightly Over 12 Million Dollars Club
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 12.8 Million Dollars
Ibra delivered for AC Milan like he has done for the past eight years – goals and a league title. Twenty one goals in all competitions and leading Milan to their first Serie A top spot finish since 2004.
Kaka – 12.8 Million Dollars
Kaka’s first two seasons at Real Madrid have been far from successful, spending plenty of time waiting to recover from injuries that put him out of action for nine months. He still managed to score 7 goals this year as Mourinho slowly brought him back into gameplay.
Wayne Rooney – 13.4 Million Dollars
Between fighting with the manager, cheating on his wife, elbowing players and cursing at TV Cameras, Wayne Rooney managed to re invent himself as an all around player, score 16 goals in all competitions, win his fourth Premier League title and lead Manchester United to the Champions League final.
The 14 Million Dollar Club
Yaya Toure – 14.1 Million Dollars
One of Manchester City’s better signings. The Ivorian midfielder, joining his brother Kolo after a very successful spell with Barcelona. Toure seemed to find more creative freedom in his debut season with the Citizens, scoring 10 goals in all competitions, more than his three seasons combined in Spain.
Fernando Torres – 14.1 Million Dollars
What a year for Fernando Torres, a bad one that is. It’s not that life at Liverpool was that great, but Torres was scoring there. He managed nine goals with a crappy and depressed side before leaving to Chelsea for 50 million pounds, the fourth most expensive footballer in history. His output with the Blues? One goal in 18 matches while saying all the wrong things about Anfield and his time there. A striker I highly regard but maybe he is overrated and is past him prime at the young age of 27, Torres needs a big year to show his world class again.
Lionel Messi – 14.1 Million Dollars
Another year, and Messi strengthens his place as the best player in the world and in our times. He scored 31 league goals and 53 in all competitions. Still shy of his 24th name day (been reading too much Game of Thrones), Messi will probably reach 200 goals for Barcelona next season. He won his fifth La Liga (3rd in a row) and third Champions League title this year, scoring in the final again.
Number 1 – Cristiano Ronaldo – 17 Million Dollars
Individually, a mega season for Cristiano Ronaldo, probably his best – 40 league goals, leading all of Europe, becoming the first player to win the European Golden Shoe in two different leagues. He scored 53 for Real in all competitions, breaking pretty much every record in the scoring books. Team-wise? Ronaldo did score the extra time winner in the King’s cup, Real’s only title and only triumph over Barcelona this year. The rest was disappointing, finishing behind Barca in the league again and knocked out by them in the Champions League Semi Final.