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Beckham ranked best soccer money maker in Forbes

2010-04-23 13:47 BJT

David Beckham was ranked as the highest earning player in the soccer world, according to Forbes magazine.

The 35-year-old Beckham earns 40 million dollars annually, with much of that coming from sponsors such as Adidas, Giorgio Armani and Motorola. But Beckham is expected to lose major sponsorship money this year because he will miss the World Cup in South Africa after tearing his Achilles' tendon in March playing for AC Milan.

Portugal midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo is second on the Forbes list, earning 30 million dollars a year. Ronaldo's major sponsors include Nike, Coca-Cola and, like Beckham, Giorgio Armani.

Ronaldo, the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year, became the highest paid soccer player in the world in June when Real Madrid bought the 25-year-old winger from Manchester United for 130 million dollars. He then signed a six-year contract that pays an estimated 15.5 million dollars in the first year, then increases 25 percent each season.

Brazil playmaker Kaka, Ronaldo's teammate at Madrid, is third on the list, earning 25 million dollars annually.

The 28-year-old forward, who won the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Award, was bought from AC Milan for 91 million dollars, the second highest recorded transfer fee. Kaka's sponsors include Adidas and Giorgio Armani.

Ronaldinho is fourth on Forbes' list, also earning 25 million dollars a year. The 30-year-old Brazil forward, who plays for AC Milan, won the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2004 and 2005.

France striker Thierry Henry marked the fifth making 24 million dollars a year. The 32-year-old Henry plays for Barcelona and has sponsorships with Reebok, Gillette and Pepsi.

Lionel Messi, the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, is sixth on the list with earnings of 20 million dollars annually.

According to Forbes reporter Christina Settimi, the list combines player' salaries, incentives and sponsorship income and was compiled by examining club and commercial sponsor filings and talking to talent agents and soccer experts in Europe and the United States.

Editor: Su Yu | Source: Xinhua