Lionel Messi tops Cristiano Ronaldo as football's top earner, with Wayne Rooney the leading Englishman ahead of David Beckham

England striker is 18th in Sports Illustrated's rankings of the wealthiest stars, behind the La Liga pair, but with US golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson ahead of the field

Manchester United star Wayne Rooney is the only Premier League player among world sport’s top 20 earners, according to America's Sports Illustrated. The annually-compiled 'rich list' shows that Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are the world's two wealthiest footballers, though both trail stars from other sports.

The ‘Fortunate 50’ takes into account the earnings, endorsements, bonuses and appearance fees of leading sports stars.

Rooney is 18th on the list after signing a new contract this season at Manchester United, thought to be worth £160,000 a week, which has seen him rise above the likes of David Beckham and Carlos Tevez - who are 23rd and 39th, respectively.

Rooney did not even feature on last-year's list, but his recent new contract has seen him bring in a reported $29.2 million (£18m) and shoot up the list.

Tiger Woods is leading the way – earning a staggering £41m last year, though that was down £18m on his previous year’s earnings.

La Liga superstars Messi and Ronaldo are unsurprisingly the top earning footballers, with Rooney coming in at third.

But what may surprise many is that Messi – the best paid footballer in the world - comes in at seventh behind the likes of Fernando Alonso.

Rank Player Amount Earned
1 Lionel Messi £27,000,000
2 Cristiano Ronaldo £23,900,000
3 Wayne Rooney £18,000,000
4 Kaka £16,800,000
5 David Beckham £16,500,000
6 Ronaldinho £15,900,000
7 Carlos Tevez £13,400,000
8 Frank Lampard £12,400,000

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