Player wages are a divisive subject, with some arguing that footballers are paid far too much for an enjoyable job whilst others argue that their careers are short and their enormous wages are a mere reflection of the money they attract from fans across the globe.
France Football conducted their annual survey in March last year to reveal the highest annual salaries in the world of football, which includes commercial deals on top of club paid wages. Without further ado, here are the top five earners from last season.
5. Neymar | Barcelona
Annual salary: £17.1m
Brazil's poster boy will have the weight of an entire country's expectations on his shoulders when he takes to the field for Brazil in the World Cup next year.
Making a large proportion of his money from sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, Neymar is also set for a pay rise this season after his move to Barcelona.
4. Samuel Eto'o | Anzhi Makhachkala
Annual salary: £20.5m
The Cameroonian is reportedly the best paid player in the world excluding commercial deals with a salary paid by his club of a reported €20m after tax.
The former Barcelona man is now on the periphery of Europe's elite football after joining Uefa Europa League side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo | Real Madrid
Annual salary: £25.7m
Portugal's captain is the holder of the world record transfer fee after his move to Real Madrid from Manchester United which cost Real £80m but he will have to settle for third place in this list.
Sponsorship deals with Giorgio Armani and Nike keep his annual pay ticking over nicely.
2. Lionel Messi | Barcelona
Annual salary: £30m
Messi beats Ronaldo to second place by a comfortable margin courtesy of a wide range of commercial deals and endorsements.
However, if allegations against the Argentine have substance, it seems £30m a year is not enough as Messi has been accused of tax evasion.
1. David Beckham | retired
Annual salary: £30.8m
Amazingly, Becks is number one on the list despite donating his entire five-month salary from his PSG contract to a Paris-based charity.
Over the years, the fresh-faced teenager turning out for Manchester United has evolved into a global celebrity with his own brand after supplementing his footballing skills in four different countries, winning silverware each time.
So, what do you think? Are footballers overpaid or are they deserving of such large fees? Have your say in the comment box below.
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