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Highest Paid Soccer Players - 2013

By Alex Harris

This list of the highest paid soccer players comes from Forbes who compiled the data in 2013 after speaking with players, agents, talent agencies, commercial sponsors, soccer experts in the U.S. and Europe, and looking through sponsor filings.


It was compiled prior to Gareth Bale's world record transfer to Real Madrid where he will be earning $24.7 million (£15.6m) a year.

The game is swimming in money and some very average players now earn more in a couple of weeks than US President Barack Obama is paid over a whole year. Whether we like it or not, money talks and teams can rise to the top off the back of their owners’ big bucks. We’re looking at you Manchester City.

Despite knowing that they are paid ridiculous amounts of cash for kicking some leather filled with air for a living, why not check out this list to see who is the richest of the lot.

1. David Beckham - US$50.6 million (£32.5m)

Stuart Franklin/Staff/Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images
What hasn’t been said about the former England captain? The model professional and still cutting it at the top level with Paris Saint Germain until retirement in May 2013, Beckham has built up a brand to exploit all the money-making avenues in soccer.

Fun Fact: Would you believe that Beckham is another to have been involved with a UN programme?

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - US$43.5 million (£27.9m)

Cristiano Ronaldo is the most expensive player in the world
Scott Heavey / Getty Images
The ‘winker’ is the most expensive signing ever made in world soccer. Real Madrid paid US$131 million to Manchester United for his services and his game has gone from strength to strength. You’ll regularly see Ronaldo’s face on adverts and billboards which makes up a large portion of his earnings.

Fun Fact: Ronaldo is the third youngest European player to reach one hundred international caps.

3. Lionel Messi - US$40.3 million (£25.9m)

Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world
Manuel Queimadelos / Getty Images
He may be current holder of Fifa’s World Player of the Year award but Messi doesn’t top this list. Barcelona’s majestic Argentinean star can currently be seen promoting Turkish Airlines alongside NBA star Kobe Bryant.

Fun Fact: Messi became Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in official competitions at the age of 24.

4. Sergio Aguero - US$20.8 million (£13.4m)

Alex Livesey / Getty Images
Perhaps a surprise fourth place in the list, Aguero will go down in history for winning Manchester City the Premier League title with a goal in the dying moments of the final league game of the season. He signed for City from Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

Fun Fact: Aguero was married to Diego Maradona’s daughter.

5. Wayne Rooney - US$20.3 million (£13m)

Alex Livesey / Getty Images
England’s very own Wayne Rooney kicked off his career with that goal against Arsenal when he was just 16. Everton sold the striker to Manchester United for just over £25 million which looks like money well spent. He did hand in a transfer request a couple of seasons ago and he is regularly featured in newspapers – on the front and back pages.

Fun Fact: Rooney’s jersey was the most popular replica kit around the globe in 2010-2011.

6. Yaya Toure – US$20.2 million (£12.9m)

Yaya Toure has been in excellent form for Manchester City
Gallo Images / Getty Images
Manchester City’s Ivorian powerhouse signed from Barcelona in 2010 and played a crucial role during Manchester City’s 2011-12 title-winning season. Toure signed for a reported fee of £24 million on a five-year deal which means that he should grace English soccer for another two seasons.

Fun Fact: As well as Kolo, there is another Toure brother playing soccer – Ibrahim.

7. Fernando Torres – US$20.2 million (£12.9m)

Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images
It seems to have all gone wrong for the Spaniard since his move from Liverpool to Chelsea in the 2011 January transfer window for £50 million. Torres may have struggled since moving to London but that transfer stands as being the highest fee paid for a player by an English club.

Fun Fact: Torres married his childhood sweetheart Olalla Dominguez, in a private ceremony in front of just two guests in a small town hall just north of Madrid.

8. Neymar - US$19.5 million (£12.5m)

Jamie McDonald / Getty Images
The Brazilian is one of the up-and-coming stars of world soccer and moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2013. Neymar starred for Santos in his homeland and gained a string of sponsors as his stock rose.

Fun Fact: Neymar featured on the cover of TIME magazine in February 2013.

9. Kaka - US$19.3 million (£12.4m)

Cameron Spencer / Getty Images
Yes, he does still play soccer. He may have drifted off the radar despite still being a part of the Real Madrid squad but he did cost the Spanish side £56 million back in 2009. He signed a six-year deal so he’s still got a few years of picking up a hefty-wage to look forward too.

Fun Fact: Just like Didier Drogba, Kaka has worked as an ambassador for the UN.

10. Didier Drogba - US$17.8 million (£11.4m)

Didier Drogba has been one of the game's best target men
Gallo Images / Getty Images
Everyone’s favorite Ivorian is currently kicking around in Turkey for Galatasaray following a short spell in China. His time in Asia came to an abrupt end following a dispute with his club Shanghai Shenhua where he is rumored to have made upwards of £200,000 a week.

Fun Fact: Drogba carried the Olympic Torch during its relay leg through Swindon.
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