Football

World's richest footballers

Updated 1419 GMT (2219 HKT) March 20, 2012
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France Football magazine has released a list of the highest-earning players in world soccer. Three-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi of Barcelona tops the list, earning $52 million in wages and sponsorship deals. Getty Images
Former England captain David Beckham is second on the list. The 36-year-old recently signed a new contract with Major League Soccer franchise Los Angeles, which he joined in 2007, and he unveiled a clothing line with Swedish store H & M in February. Getty Images
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo became the world's most expensive player when he joined the Spanish giants from Manchester United in 2009 for a reported $130 million.The Portugal forward's silky skills and prolific goalscoring also help him to attract sponsorship deals, such as the one he has with his boot manufacturer Nike. Getty Images
Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o profited from joining big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Machachkala from Inter Milan in August 2011. Getty Images
England star Wayne Rooney penned a lucrative five-year contract with Manchester United in October 2010, after initially declaring that he wanted to leave the Old Trafford club. Getty Images
Argentina striker Serguio Aguero is one of two Manchester City players in the top 10 after joining the Abu Dhabi-owned English Premier League club from Atletico Madrid for a reported $62 million in July 2011. Getty Images
Aguero is joined on the list by City teammate Yaya Toure, the Ivory Coast midfielder who signed for the club from Barcelona in 2010. Toure signed a sponsorship deal with German brand Puma in October 2011.
Spain striker Fernando Torres joined Chelsea from EPL rivals Liverpool in a British-record transfer reported to be worth $80 million in January 2011. Despite his lucrative move, Torres has struggled to find the net during his spell in west London. Getty Images
Brazil playmaker Kaka was briefly the world's most expensive player when he signed for Real Madrid from AC Milan in 2009. The reported$100 million fee Real paid for his services was beaten later in the same transfer window, when the Spanish club signed Ronaldo. Getty Images
Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm completes the top 10. The Germany skipper attracted controversy last year for releasing a book in which he criticized the training techniques of former Bayern coaches Jurgen Klinsmann and Felix Magath. Getty Images