The nine highest paid footballers in the world….

France Football magazine ranked the sport’s highest earners, and the amount of money in play might make your eyes water. The football rich list is collated by adding club salaries, endorsement deals, and performance bonuses. Europe cemented its position as the home of big-money soccer — all the clubs featured are on the continent, while all but two of the players are European. Despite the Premier League being the most watched in the world, English football clubs did not take part in the survey. France Football notes that Manchester United player Wayne Rooney would have been ninth if they had.

1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona, 28)

1. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona, 28)

Annual Salary: €36m (£28.7m; $40.6m)

Performance Bonus: €3m (£2.4m; $3.4m)

Other Income: €35m (£27.9m; $39m)

The best footballer in the world (according to FIFA’s Player of the Year award) is also the best paid. This marks the first time a footballer has ever had an income of over €70 million, and with Messi’s contracts with sports-related giants like Adidas and EA Games it’s perhaps no surprise the Argentine player is rolling in money.

2. Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 31)

2. Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, 31)

Annual Salary: €32m (£25.5m; $36m)

Performance Bonus: €400,000 (£319,000; $451,000)

Other Income: €35m (£27.9m; $39m)

It was close for this Portuguese player, but Ronaldo with have to settle for second place. A combined income of €67 million and lucrative contracts with Nike, Armani, and, strangely, Kentucky Fried Chicken will have to do in the meantime.

3. JR Neymar (FC Barcelona, 24)

3. JR Neymar (FC Barcelona, 24)

Annual Salary: €20m (£16m; $23m)

Performance Bonus: €2.5m (£2m; $2.8m)

Other Income: €21m (£16.8m; $24m)

The youngest player to make the top nine is also the third richest, breaking the €40 million mark for the first time. If rumours of his move to PSG — who seem to pay a lot if this list is anything to by — are true, that figure could swell even more.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain, 34)

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain, 34)

Annual Salary: €20m (£16m; $22.5m)

Performance Bonus: €2.5m (£2m; $2.8m)

Other Income: €6m (£4.8m; $7m)

This Swedish player is a veteran by footballing standards, but has managed to negotiate a very nice salary with PSG for his final season there, as well as an endorsement deal with sportswear giant Nike.

5. Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain, 31)

5. Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain, 31)

Annual Salary: €23m (£18.3m; $26m)

Performance Bonus: €1m (£800,000; $1.1m)

Other Income: €2.5m (£2m; $2.8m)

PSG’s Brazilian captain is the highest-paid defender in the world. An endorsement deal with car company Nissan doesn’t hurt either. He also enjoyed a big bonus for his team winning the trophy treble last year.

6. Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain, 28)

6. Angel Di Maria (Paris Saint-Germain, 28)

Annual Salary: €24m (£19.1m; $27m)

Performance Bonus: €800,000 (£640,000; $900,000)

Other Income: €1.2m (£960,000; $1.35m)

The first of two Argentines on the list, Di Maria left Manchester United last year to negotiate a huge wage with Paris Saint Germaine (PSG) — a team you’ll see again on here.

7. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, 26)

7. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, 26)

Annual Salary: €14m (£11.2m; $16m)

Performance Bonus: €500,000 (£399,000; $565,000)

Other Income: €10m (£8m; $11.3m)

The only Brit on the list, Bale was a wunderkind at Tottenham Hotspur before being sold to Real Madrid for a whopping €100 million. Corporations took notice too, and he is now the face of the Pro Evolution Soccer video-game series.

8. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich, 26)

8. Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich, 26)

Annual Salary: €16m (£12.8m; $18m)

Performance Bonus: €600,000 (£478,600; $677,000)

Other Income: €7m (£5.6m; $8m)

Muller is something of a legend in Germany, having led the country to World Cup glory in 2014. And his extended contract with Munich to 2021 ensures his bank account will stay healthy for at least another half-decade.

9. Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona, 31)

9. Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona, 31)

Annual Salary: €15m (£12m; $17m)

Performance Bonus: €2m (£1.6m; $2.3m)

Other Income: €4.5m (£3.6m; $5m)

We kick off with Barcelona’s captain, who is known for his versatility. He’s also a nice guy too, winning the “Golden Foot” in 2014, which awards personality as well as athletic ability.

Source: Businessinsider.com

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