Only six Premier League stars make 100 Richest Athletes list

Jun 19, 2012

Don't tell their agents, but just ten footballers are earning enough to make annual big money chart

A SURVEY of the 100 top-earning athletes in the world published yesterday features just ten footballers, and only six of those play in the English Premier League. The list, published by Forbes magazine, is dominated by American stars from baseball, American football and basketball.

The footballers, their placing in the list and their earnings are quoted below:
Beckham makes the top ten with annual earnings last year of $46 million - $9 million in salary and the rest in endorsements. Beckham re-signed with Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer in January for two years in what is likely to be the last contract for the 37-year-old. Burger King, Sainsbury's and Samsung endorsements should see him through to his pension.
Just below Beckham, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has the highest football salary in any league at $20 million. Endorsements with the likes of Nike, Castrol and Konami pushed this up to $42.5 million last year.
Lionel Messi broke the 39-year record for most goals in a European club season in 2012 when he finished the season with 73. He also became the first player to score five goals in a Champions League match. For that, Messi earned $30 million in total.
Manchester United star Rooney is the highest-placed Premier League star in the list, with earnings totalling a mere $24.3 million. Replicas of his jersey are the top-seller in the Premier League over the past 20 years. Nike and EA Sports heavily promote him, despite a few tabloid indiscretions.
Twenty-four-year old Argentine Aguero made headlines prior to the 2011-12 season when he signed a five-year contract with Manchester City that pays him over $16 million a year - double his prior salary. His total earnings of $20.1m last year look set to rise after his title-winning goal at the end of last season.   
Striker Torres left Liverpool in January 2011 to join Chelsea under a five-year deal. Torres has been a disappointment for Chelsea, although the London team did win the Champions League title in 2012. His performance in Euro 2012 - two goals so far for Spain - has been better. His pay last year was $19.6 million.
Yaya Toure signed a deal in July 2010 with Man City that pays him over $15 million a year to play alongside his older brother, Kolo. After City won the Premier League title this May, Yaya Touré's agent declared that the former African footballer of the year was looking for a new club. His Puma deal includes an agreement to distribute the brand's gear to underprivileged African children, and he earned $19.1 million in 2011-12.
Terry is fortunate he can rely on a contract that will pay him $12 million a year through the 2013-14 season. His endorsement money has dried up on the back of several alleged indiscretions and he has been stripped of the England captaincy twice in the past two years. Terry's major sponsor Umbro has dropped him from their advertising campaigns, but he still earned $17.5 million last year.
Finally, Steven Gerrard solidified his legacy as a Red for life in January when he signed a contract with Liverpool that includes an “ambassadorial role” with the club when he decides to hang up his boots. The 32-year old midfielder was named England captain ahead of Euro 2012. Off the pitch, he has benefited from a long-term deal with Adidas, and last year earned $17 million.  
Putting the footballers in the shade, the highest earning athlete in the world last year, Floyd Mayweather Jr, languishes in jail. Boxer Mayweather, who made $85 million off two fights last year, is serving a three-month jail sentence for domestic battery in Las Vegas, having failed in a bid to serve the remainder of his time under house arrest.

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