LIONEL MESSI is the world's best player — and the top paid too.
20 March 2012
The brilliant Barcelona wing wizard has been tipped to earn a jaw-dropping £27.4million this year from wages, bonuses, sponsorships and endorsements.
His annual £13m salary gets topped up nicely through a number of deals with leading global brands, including adidas and Pepsi, and it seems like the sky is the limit for the Argentine.
Messi just heads off the enduring money-making machine that is David Beckham, whose wallet shows no sign of thinning out despite playing his football in America with LA Galaxy.
Becks, 36, is set to earn £26m as his worldwide claim shows little sign of diminishing, especially as his latest deal is to be Samsung's global ambassador for the Olympics.
He leads Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, whose wages match his amazing record of 98 goals in 90 games for the La Liga leaders.
The list of the world's richest footballers and coaches, complied by France Football, sees Wayne Rooney in fifth place behind Samuel Eto'o, who plays for mega-rich Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
Rooney earns £17m against Eto'o's £19.3m. The Manchester United striker picks up £8m a season from his latest five-year contract and, although he ran into trouble with Coca-Cola last year following off-the-field skirmishes, commercial interest in the England superstar is soaring again.
Jose Mourinho is the top-paid coach with £12.3m this year with Real Madrid.
Paris St Germain boss Carlo Ancelotti is second (£11m) with Barca's Pep Guardiola (£7.88m) third.