David Beckham Tops Football Rich-List Of High Earners

Goldenballs' frequent trans-Atlantic switches have not dented his earning power one bit - quite the opposite...
Forbes magazine has released its list of the top 20 football earners on the planet for the year 2008.

Predictably, David Beckham leads the pack, while Ronaldo's time at AC Milan sees him join Becks, Ronaldinho and Kaka in the top 20, along with on-loan striker Andriy Shevchenko.

With parent clubs and leagues (as opposed to on-loan clubs) being measured, the most populous league in this top 20 is the English Premier League, with fully nine of the 20 players.

Serie A comes next with five (six if Beckham is included), La Liga of Spain is next with four, and the Brasileiro, Serie A and MLS have one apiece.

As for individual clubs, AC Milan currently have four players on their books - including three of the top four. However, two of these are currently on loan at San Siro.

One of these, Andriy Shevchenko, is owned by Chelsea, along with four more of the top 20. Chief amongst these is Frank Lampard, who is apparently also attempting to make a name for himself in the lucrative American advertising market.

The top England-based player in the rankings is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, while Thierry Henry of Barcelona is an overall third, largely due to a series of high-profile endorsements.

These figures, while open to debate, were gathered by Forbes from numerous sources.

In their words, "We looked through team filings and spoke with talent agencies and soccer experts in the U.S. and Europe. All earnings are for 2008 and are in U.S. dollars. We include soccer salaries and incentives but exclude transfer fees."

The figures, then, are as much a measure of a player's marketability as they are their talent.

Over two thirds - $66 million from $95 million - of David Beckham's income over the past two years has been from endorsements such as Motorola and Adidas.

At the other extreme, Lionel Messi has made just $7 million per year from advertising and product deals.

The full list, according to Forbes, is below. Current clubs are given, which may differ from 2008 teams. In the case of a player being on loan, the side for whom he currently is registered is given first.

Rank
Player
Income
Team
League
1
David Beckham
$46m
AC Milan/LA Galaxy
Serie A/MLS
2
Ronaldinho
$33m
AC Milan
Serie A
3
Thierry Henry
$28m
Barcelona La Liga
4
Kaka
$22m
AC Milan Serie A
5
Cristiano Ronaldo
$21m
Manchester Utd
Premier League
6
Lionel Messi
$18m
Barcelona
La Liga
7
Frank Lampard
$18m
Chelsea
Premier League
8
Wayne Rooney
$18m Manchester Utd
Premier League
9
John Terry
$18m Chelsea
Premier League
10
Steven Gerrard
$18m Liverpool
Premier League
11
Michael Ballack
$15m Chelsea Premier League
12
Ronaldo
$15m Corinthians
Brasileiro
13
Fabio Cannavaro
$15m Real Madrid
La Liga
14
Francesco Totti
$15m Roma
Serie A
15
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
$14m Internazionale
Serie A
16
Andriy Shevchenko
$14m AC Milan/Chelsea Serie A/PL
17
Rio Ferdinand
$14m Manchester Utd
Premier League
18
Didier Drogba
$12m Chelsea Premier League
19
Raul
$12m Real Madrid
La Liga
20
Alessandro Del Piero
$11m Juventus
Serie A