Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic,Samuel Eto’o and the Manchester City gang might enjoy the highest salaries in the soccer world, but when it comes to overall earnings, David Beckham, who has been playing in the MLS since 2007, is still the king.
Beckham hasn’t played for the national team since October 2009, not stopping him from remaining the most marketable football star in the world, with Cristiano Ronaldo, the most socially engaged athlete in the world, not too far behind.
Number 10 (Shared) – Steven Gerrard, $16 Million
Steven Gerrard is having sort of a comeback season in 2011-2012, although it isn’t the Gerrard of old, isn’t the Liverpool of old. The nearly 32 year old captain has been with the senior club since 1998, the only team he’s ever played for. He signed another extension in January, making sure he’ll remain a red for life, if there was any doubt. He has few off-pitch earning besides his Adidas sponsorship.
Number 10 (Shared) – Frank Lampard, $16 Million
Lampard’s contract with Chelsea is up after the 2012-2013 season, and he’ll be 35 by then. Despite being a Chelsea player for over a decade now, winning three league titles and three FA Cups with the club, it is far from certain that Lamps will end his career in West London.
Number 8 – Fernando Torres, $17 Million
Hard to tell who’s more frustrated about Torres’ production since coming from Liverpool. The club, paying £50 million for the Spanish striker, or Torres himself, unable to deal with the pressure of being the most expensive player in the history of the Premier League. His tally so far? Eight goals in 60 matches for the club.
Besides his 8 figure salary from Chelsea, Torres earns a pretty pay from Pepsi and Nike among other smaller brands.
Number 7 (shared) – Yaya Toure, $18 Million
Yaya Toure has yet to bring his winning touch to Manchester City, arriving at Eastlands after three seasons with Barcelona, helping the club win two league titles and the Champions League. Toure has probably been City’s best player during the two seasons he’s been with the club. He makes about $15 million in salary and enjoys a nice deal with Puma for his off-pitch earnings.
Number 7 (shared) – John Terry, $18 Million
Terry has captained Chelsea going into more than 400 matches, and despite suffering through a roller coaster of a season, with a trial waiting for him in the summer, Terry has seemed, like the rest of the team, to have finally found some steady ground. He’s scoring in loads (for him, at least), his best output since 2006. As you can guess, Terry is slowly losing his appeal with sponsors.
Number 5 – Kaka, $21 Million
Still not back to his old self and station from before the injury, not managing to find a constant place in Real Madrid’s lineup and Jose Mourinho’s heart. Maybe he’s just not that good anymore. Besides his Real salary, Kaka makes quite a lot of money from Adidas and EA Sports.
Number 4 – Wayne Rooney, $24 Million
Rooney isn’t squeaky clean like Kaka is. Many on field problems (red cards) and off field (prostitutes) haven’t stopped Rooney being the most popular player in the Premier League, having the best-selling jersey. His major off-pitch sponsors are Nike and EA Sports, although he has been let go by Coca-Cola last year.
Number 3 – Lionel Messi, $39 Million
Lionel Messi is having yet another record breaking season in terms of his goalscoring, although, for the first time in four years, it may end without any major team honors. Messi makes nearly $20 million from the club through salaries and bonuses, while his endorsements from Adidas, Pepsi and EA Sports, among others, nearly double his earnings.
Number 2 – Cristiano Ronaldo, $42 Million
Cristiano Ronaldo has yet to beat Messi this season on the field, but at least he’s making a bit more money then the player he’s always compared and rivaled to in the discussions for best player in the world. The Real Madrid superstar keeps scoring goals at an incredible rate, currently at 139 goals for the club in less than 3 full seasons. He makes over $20 million from the club, enjoying sharing his image rights, while the rest of earnings come from Nike, Castrol and Konami, among others.
Number 1 – David Beckham, $46 Million
Despite not playing a full season in Europe since 2006, Beckham is still the number one face to use if you want a soccer player to advertise your business. The Los Angeles Galaxy player enjoys deals with H&M, Adidas, Samsung, Coty and Burger King.