2010 was a very interesting year for footballers and their sponsorships. Whilst many players negotiated higher wages from their clubs, sponsorships were lost left and right as companies looked to weather the financial storm.
But regardless of global economic crises’, what’s always an interesting read is who are the highest earning players in the world – a subject closely tied withfootball boots thanks to megabuck sponsorship deals.
We knew as soon as the latest players ‘rich list’ hit our desks, we’d have to share it with you guys!
Highest Paid Footballers in the World
10. Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan, Cameroon) £9m
Four-time African player of the year Samuel Eto’o retains his place from last year as the 10th-best-paid player in the World, and the highest-paid African.
His deal as Puma’s top man has been beneficial for both parties, as Eto’o has been a model wearer of the v1.10 SL, even teaming up with Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt to launch a limited version of the football boot last year.
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan, Sweden) £10.2m
Despite a disappointing spell at Barcelona, the Swedish star has been back in outstanding form at AC Milan.
Presuming that AC Milan are matching the €9.5m wage the hitman was on at Barcelona, it’s safe to say that the former Ajax man’s Nike football boots deal makes up for the majority of the remainder of his giant £10.2m earnings for 2010.
8. Frank Lampard (Chelsea, England) £10.2m
With a £6.6m base wage for his services at Chelsea, Frank Lampard was never going to be in any financial difficulties. The stars reasonably wholesome image has also seen him net deals with the likes of EA Sports and Tesco in the past, and we have no doubt that will continue as long as he remains at Chelsea.
Should Lampard continue his record-breaking tally for goals scored by a Premier League midfielder, the England star could be set to benefit from Kaká’s move to the adiPower as he could well be the new global face of the adiPure range of football boots.
7. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United, England) £12m
Wayne Rooney might well have lost his £600,000 deal with Coca-Cola/Powerade, as a result of his off field misdemeanour’s, but that doesn’t mean that the striker is short of sponsorship deals!
We know his long-running association with Nike is under no threat as long as he doesn’t start writing swear words on his football boots, and his deal with EA is reportedly set to keep him on the cover of the FIFA series for at least another season.
6. Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls, France) £12.6m
As New York Red Bulls’ ‘Marquee Player’ Henry is exempt from the MLS salary cap, which means that, whilst many would argue the Fightin’ Energy Drinks are a step down from Barca, the man himself is probably enjoying a comparable wage.
Henry’s deal with Reebok continues (despite Reebok not having made a new pair of football boots in ‘donkey’s years’), as does his association with Renault; however, his deal with Gillette wasn’t renewed at the end of 2010.
5. Ronaldinho (Flamengo, Brazil) £14.4m
We call Ronaldinho the renaissance man here at Footy-Boots.com, because whenever the fleet-footed Brazilian looks to be ending his career, he changes club, changes image and rejuvenates himself all over again! His deal at Flamengo runs until 2014 and is rumoured to be one of the best paid agreements in South America.
Despite not making the Brazil team for the World Cup, Nike have retained the services of the Samba star, and we’ve heard that we should expect to see plenty of him when the new Tiempo Legend IV finally drops later this year!
4. Kaká (Real Madrid, Brazil) £14.4m
Despite his inconsistent presence and form on the pitch, Ricardo Kaká’s bank balance is always looking healthy!
One of the only stars to remain in the same spot on our chart as last year, Kaka’s latest deal, to be the cover-star of the 100m-unit-selling FIFA 11 game, will have done his image the world of good.
Interesting times lay ahead for Kaká’s adidas sponsorship, as recent adverts suggest he will become one of the big stars to wear the new adiPower Predatorwhen it lands next month – meaning he will have to up his game if he wants to remain the face (or feet!) of adidas’ new football boots.
3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina) £19.3m
Knocked from his pinnacle of 2009′s highest-earning footballer, Lionel Messi has swapped quantity for quality with his sponsorship deals.
We imagine it’s because many of Messi’s smaller sponsorship deals can no longer afford the two-time World Player of the year to represent their products (sorry Storkman and ‘Lody for Men’).
The tricky Argentine’s sponsorship may have dwindled, but with signature adidas football boots in the works and the likes of Konami, Lay’s and Air Europa bankrolling him, we doubt Messi will be short of a few quid any time soon!
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Portugal) £22.9m
Sitting behind the number one spot by a mere £1.2m is Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. Surpassing last year’s number one and arch rival in La Liga, Lionel Messi, has proven to be one of the easier things that Ronaldo has accomplished this season!
As well as his unbelievable football boots deal with Nike to wear his signatureNike CR Safari, the World’s Most Expensive Footballer also bolsters his substantial Real Madrid pay-cheque with sponsorship deals with Castrol and Armani.
With 24 million fans on Facebook, Ronaldo is the most popular athlete in Social Networking – and with a presence like that in the minds of such a big fanbase we predict that brand ‘CR’ will continue to grow over the coming years.
1. David Beckham (LA Galaxy, England) £24.1m
The return of the King! In an unbelievable turn of events, David Beckham is back as the World’s Highest Earning Footballer.
Goldenballs is actually earning less than he did throughout 2009, but a smart new deal with EA Sports, a short term deal with Yahoo and a return to the Pepsi payroll have seen Beckham weather the sponsorship storm better than everyone else in the industry!
Add this to Beckham’s LA Galaxy deal and his clever sponsorship deal withadidas football boots (which is not only the biggest in football, but actually sees Beckham take a cut of each pair of his signature football boots sold!) and it’s no surprise that ‘Brand Beckham’ is still one of the most popular in world sport.
World’s Highest Paid Footballers 2009:
10. Samuel Eto’o (Internazionale, Cameroon) €13.8m/£12.3m.