With all the changes that have taken place over the past 2 years, huge transfer fees, inflated salaries, etc. I thought it only fair to update this to reflect the Top 10 Highest Paid Footballers of 2011.
The list will take into account salary and sponsorship deals and is quoted in US dollars. I should also mention that Wayne Rooney is somewhere in this list (definitely), but I am still trying to track down details of his sponsorship deals, but at a guess he would make number 4 on the highest paid footballers 2011 list, thus knocking Steven Gerrard out of the top 10.
10. Steven Gerrard
Teams: Liverpool & England
Amount: - $18million
The Liverpool and occasional England captain is now signed to the Reds until 2013 and has major sponsorship deals with both Adidas and Lucozade.
9. Frank Lampard
Teams: Chelsea & England
I note that some readers were surprised to see Frank in the 2009 list (found further down this page), but he’s managed to make the Highest Paid Footballers 2011 list as well!
Frank has stood out as the most marketable Englishman in the Chelsea team with both John Terry and Ashley Cole facing intense media speculation over the last couple of years. Frank enjoys endorsement deals with Adidas and Orange, the cell phone network.
8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Teams: Barcelona & Sweden
Yet another name which remains in the top 10 highest paid footballers list from 2009. Ibrahimovic moved from Barcelona to Inter for a cool $94million in what is the 3rd highest transfer fee in football history. He has a fantastic endorsement deal with Nike that makes up a fair percentage of his annual haul.
7. Carlos Tevez
Teams: Manchester City & Argentina
His switch from the red side of Manchester to the blue was questioned by many. Was his transfer solely motivated by money? Hard to tell, but I’m sure the huge weekly pay-check from City and sizeable sponsorship deal with Nike will numb the pain of leaving regular Premiership winners and constant Champions League contenders.
Teams: AC Milan & Brazil
It’s funny, but you hear practically nothing about Ronaldinho for years and yet he still remains amongst the top 10 highest paid footballers for 2011. Often considered a “luxury player” by certain parts of the media, and still featured high in Nike’s 2010 World Cup adverts even though Dunga had dropped him from the squad!
5. Thierry Henry
Teams: New York Red Bulls & France
Once more we have a high calibre player (who has seen better days) who remains in the list from 2 years ago.
Henry has always been considered a commercially marketable footballer, and I see no reason for this to be any different in the American market.
Teams: Real Madrid & Brazil
Kaka didn’t have a great 2010 due to injuries, but class is permanent. A great player who I’m sure still has many headlines to make.
He should also be extremely pleased with the great deals he has with the likes of Giorgio Armani and Nike.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo
Teams: Real Madrid & Portugal
Well you would actually believe that anyone who is anyone is sponsoring Cristiano Ronaldo. Still in great form playing for Real, and we all know the golden statue Nike commercial.
2. David Beckham
Teams: LA Galaxy & England
I guess he would be considered the elder statesman now, but he’s still (almost) at the top of tree when it comes to the highest paid footballers 2011. Not only sponsorship deals with Adidas and Motorola, but we also have his own underwear and aftershave lines to consider.
1. Lionel (or Leo) Messi
Teams: Barcelona & Argentina
Well, I think we can quite safely say that Messi has cemented his place as the best footballer in the world since I made the initial list in 2009. And now he is also the highest paid footballer in the world. Sponsors include Adidas, Pepsi and Konami video games.