Beckham beats Ronaldo, Messi to highest-paid footballer

Karim Farouk, Thursday 6 Jun 2013

England icon comes eighth on the Forbes list of highest paid athletes in 2013

David Beckham
Former PSG winger David Beckham (Photo: Reuters)

Despite announcing his retirement in May, former England and PSG star David Beckham outclassed the world's most valuable players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to be the highest-paid footballer in 2013, according to a report issued by Forbes magazine on Thursday.

The highest-ranked footballer came at number eight in the overall ranking of the highest-paid athletes, with total earnings of $47.2 million. The 38-year-old had a $5.2 million salary during his five-month stint at PSG that he donated to charity, plus $42 million from commercial endorsements.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo came second with an overall ranking number nine at $44 million. The Portuguese winger earns $23 million in salary and $21 million in commercial endorsements.

That amount is expected to jump next year as he is about to ink a new deal with Real Madrid and is reportedly willing to raise his share of image rights and commercials, currently split with the club at 60-40. Real Madrid is known for usually taking 50 percent share of players' rights.

Four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi came right behind at the tenth place overall, with total earnings of $41.3 million. The Argentinean wizard jumped up the ladder courtesy of a record contract extension with Barcelona that will see him earn $20.3 million per year until 2018. The 25-year-old forward also has a sponsors’ backing worth $21 million.

Golf icon Tiger Woods is back on top of Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes after a year out. The golfer spent 11 straight years at number one on the magazine's list before falling to third in 2012. He was back in the top spot after he made $78.1 million over the last year from prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design work.

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