The past year or so has been a massive one in the world of football sponsorships. As brands from both inside and outside the world of football bankroll top stars in the run up to Euro 2012 and the London Olympics, MegaBucks clubs like Manchester City, Real Madrid and Anzhi Makhachkala are doling out deals with millions in persuit of glory.
10. Philip Lahm (Bayern Munich / Germany) £11.9m
Captain of the new-look Germany side, Philip Lham rockets into the top ten following a successful season with Bayern Munich. As well as a deal to wear adidas football boots, Lahm’s renewed Deal with his Bavarian club has had a year to mature, putting him amongst the world’s highest earners for the first time.
9. Kaka (Real Madrid / Brazil) £12.9m
As well as a healthy deal with Real Madrid, Kaka’s charm and wholesome image have helped him keep his spot in the top ten, as deals with adidas and EA Sports supplement his Los Blancos paycheque. It’s telling of his on-field performance, though, that the Brazilian midfielder is actually earning around £2m less than this time last year.
8. Fernando Torres (Spain / Chelsea) £13.9m
Despite his well-documented troubles since his move to Stamford Bridge, Spanish striker Torres’ deal with Chelsea has propelled him into the Top 10 highest-paid footballers for the first time in his career. Addition spending money comes from the likes of Pepsi and Nike, who will hope that the golden-haired forward can force his way back into the Spain squad in time for Euro 2012.
7. Yaya Toure (Man City / Ivory Coast) £14.7m
Another player to benefit from a new deal at a new club is Manchester City Powerhouse Yaya Toure. The midfielder has become a key member of the City squad since his move from La Liga, and it’s worth noting he donates his sponsorship money from his Puma boot deal to charity. Top man.
6. Sergio Aguero (Man City / Argentina) £15.7m
It’s a similar story for Toure’s team-mate and Puma sponsor-ee Sergio Aguero. The diminutive Argentine has quickly proven his worth at the Etihad Stadium – a difficult task on such a large wage – and has switched his boot supplier to Puma following a protracted move from Nike.
5. Wayne Rooney (England / Man United) £17.2m
Despite a year dogged by scandal, Manchester United hitman Wayne Rooney boosted his earnings by nearly £5m over the past 12 months to enter the top 5 highest-paid footballers for the first time in his career. Rooney’s potential lack of action during Euro 2012 will likely upset his sponsors, but the likes of Nike and EA Sports will be thrilled with his performances for the Red Devils this season.
4. Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi / Cameroon) £19.4m
No surprises as to why Samuel Eto’o is at number 4. The Cameroon international was one of the first ‘marquee’ signings from ultra-spenders Anzhi Makhachkala, and his deal sees his earnings more than double over this time last year.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid / Portugal) £24.3m
Portuguese national squad captain Cristiano Ronaldo drops a place to third this year despite bolstering his earnings by over £1.5m over this time last year. As well as being officially the most expensive player in the world, the superstar’s deal to keep him in Nike Mercurial football boots is reportedly one of the biggest in sports. Throw in his ludicrously fat-free physique and his status as the most socially-networked athlete in the world, and he’s a worthwhile face for any company.
2. David Beckham (England / LA Galaxy) £26.2m
After much ‘Umm’ing and ‘Ahh’ing over the MLS off-season, Beckham turned down a potentially massive move to PSG in favour of staying with the LA Galaxy for at least one more season. The former England captain’s new deal and hugely-marketed underwear deal with highstreet fashion label H&M see GoldenBalls earning over £2m more than in the previous financial year.
1. Lionel Messi (Argentina / Barcelona) £27.5m
Well, well – look who’s back on top! After a record-breaking last 12 months, the mercurial Messi’s earnings are now as superfluous as the words used to describe him. A signature clothing range with adidas and a deal to see him become the cover star for EA Sports games from this season onward has seen the Barca ace add nearly £8m to his earnings over the past 12 months. Should his history-making form continue, it’s likely that we’ll see that figure continue to rise – over the next 12 months.