Commercial endorsements have become commonplace in modern football, pushing the net worth of players to an all time high.
George Brand-MacFarlane takes a look at which players are earning the most on a yearly basis, according to Forbes.
10. David Villa (£35m)
The newly signed Atletico Madrid striker has made himself a fortune playing for his former clubs Barcelona and Valencia.
9. Wayne Rooney (£39m)
Long time Manchester United striker Rooney’s loyalty has quite literally paid off. David Beckham’s retirement made Rooney the wealthiest Englishman to be currently playing.
8. Samuel Eto’o (£42m)
The 32-year-old Cameroonian has earned himself one of the largest net-worths in football. Eto’o was transferred to Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011, where he is paid a whopping £20m a season, one of the highest salaries in football history.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£45m)
Although players like Rooney may have made their fortune by staying at their club and becoming an icon, Swedish striker Ibrahimovic has made his money by following the scent of cold hard cash, having played for seven different clubs since the beginning of his career in 2001.
6. Thierry Henry (£46m)
New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry is still racking up cash. With a salary of £4m a season, he is the highest paid player in the MLS.
5. Sergio Ramos (£47m)
Known as the first footballer to shoot a ball into outer space after his penalty miss against Bayern Munich in 2012, Sergio Ramos has made millions in endorsements. All jokes aside, the 27-year-old Spaniard is an accomplished centre-back, and makes £4.5m a season from his club Real Madrid.
4. Ronaldinho (£53m)
Brazilian legend Ronaldinho has made millions both on and off the pitch. With a current salary of £3m a season, the 33-year-old has also made millions in endorsements from Nike and Pepsi, and was on the cover for popular video game FIFA, from the 2006 to 2009 games.
3. Kaka (£68m)
Real Madrid’s Kaka may be the most well paid bench-warmer in football history, with a salary of £9m a season. The Balon D’Or recipient may not be undeserving of his fortune however, as the midfielder has scored 23 goals in his 83 appearances for his club.
2. Lionel Messi (£87m)
You may be surprised to see a list that isn’t topped by the 25-year-old Argentinian. The Barcelona forward is quickly catching up to the number one spot, and has the highest salary of all players currently playing.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (£98m)
Portuguese winger Ronaldo is the most valuable name in football, and he has most definitely earned it. The 28-year-old has made a fortune with the combination of endorsements, a £12m a season salary and his own brand of cologne.
Only time will tell if he will be able to keep ahead of Messi.
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