March 30, 2009

French magazine France Football on Monday released its annual list of the highest earners in soccer and David Beckham, currently on loan at AC Milan from the Los Angeles Galaxy, again tops the list with total earnings of $42.7 million in 2008.

Beckham earns $6.5 million on the field per year, according to his Major League Soccer contract. But much of that figure this year will be paid by AC Milan, where the England international will stay until the end of the Serie A season in May. Beckham also earns a portion of Galaxy ticket and jersey sales, as well as additional millions in endorsement deals from the likes of Adidas, Gillette and Pepsi.

FC Barcelona's Argentine star Lionel Messi came in at No. 2 on the list with $37.7 million in earnings, while Beckham's teammate at Milan, Brazil's Ronaldinho, was third with $25.8 million. FIFA World Player of the Year winner Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal came in at fourth with $24.1 million.

French star Thierry Henry was fifith with $22.4 million, and three of Beckham's England international teammates -- Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and John Terry -- were among the top 10.

France Football includes salary and endorsements in its calculations.

On the coaching front, two ex-Chelsea tacticians led the way. Inter Milan boss José Mourinho earned approximately $14.5 million, while Luiz Felipe Scolari -- fired by Chelsea last month with a hefty severance package -- made off with slightly more at $16.5 million.

The top 10 highest-paid players:

1. David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy/AC Milan): $42.7 million2. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona): $37.7 million3. Ronaldinho (AC Milan): $25.8 million4. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United): $24.1 million5. Thierry Henry (FC Barcelona): $22.4 million6. Kaká (AC Milan): $19.9 million7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan): $19.9 million8. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United): $17.8 million9. Frank Lampard (Chelsea): $17.1 million10. John Terry (Chelsea): $15.4 million

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