Lionel Messi is leaving his rivals in the dust in terms of pay, raking in just under double the salary of Cristiano Ronaldo according to the release of new figures.
Barcelona are £1.1billion in debt but the club’s talisman is paid incredibly well with a gross monthly pay amount of £7million..
In contrast, his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo earns a monthly amount of £3.8m at Juventus, according to figures released by L’Equipe.
Over a year, Messi therefore takes home a pre-tax salary of £107.6m in comparison to Ronaldo’s £46.5m.
Messi and Ronaldo have reigned supreme over European club football for years so it is not a surprise to see their names at the top of the list.
Below them, Neymar slots in at No 3 with an annual pre-tax salary of £31.3m for free-spending French giants Paris-Saint Germain.
The Brazilian’s earning power with PSG is greater than team-mate Kylian Mbappe’s £21.4m per year.
But the 22-year-old Frenchman could soon overtake Neymar either by signing a new deal on improved terms with PSG or securing a big-money move away this summer.
In total, 10 of the top paid players in Ligue 1 belong to PSG and Wissam Ben Yedder is the first name from a different club on the list at £6.8m for Monaco.
Fourth on the overall list is another Barcelona star, Antoine Griezmann.
The forward has not hit the heights many expected of him since joining from Atletico Madrid but still earns an annual pre-tax salary of £29.7m.
On the same level as him is a man who went the other way, from Barcelona to Atletico.
Luis Suarez is earning every penny of his £29.7m by helping Diego Simeone’s side to lead the title race in Spain this season.
In the Premier League, the Manchester clubs flex their financial muscles with four of the top five paid players at United or City.
But top spot belongs to Tottenham loanee Gareth Bale who, despite not starting for much of the season in the Premier League, earns £25.6m. Of that figure, 40 per cent is reportedly paid for by Spurs and the rest by Real Madrid.
He’s in top spot ahead of David de Gea, who risks losing his place to Dean Henderson as United’s No 1.
De Gea’s pre-tax annual salary is £18.9m, ahead of Kevin de Bruyne on £16.1m, Raheem Sterling on £15.2 and Paul Pogba on £14.5m.
In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich players account for all of the top five.
Robert Lewandowski takes top spot along with Manuel Neuer with both men earning £17.4m a year ahead of Leroy Sane (£15.36), Thomas Muller (£13.2m) and Lucas Hernandez (£11.2m).
While Ronaldo is way out in front in Serie A, he is trailed by Roma’s Edin Dzeko (£10.9m), Juventus team-mate Matthijs de Ligt (£10.4m) and Inter Milan duo Romelu Lukaku (£9.7m) and Christian Eriksen on the same amount.
L’Equipe have also published a list of the top five paid managers in Europe with Diego Simeone cashing in the most from his club.
The fiery Argentine is repaying the faith by steering the team to the summit of LaLiga, although they were comprehensively beaten by Chelsea in the Champions League last-16 earlier this week.
Atletico pay the Argentine a whopping £36.9m a year ahead of Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola (£19.3m), Jose Mourinho (£14.5m), Jurgen Klopp (£14.5m) and Zinedine Zidane (£14.3m).
Of course, players and managers alike have other income streams with external sponsorship deals and image rights shifting the balance.
But in terms of how the top stars in Europe are valued by their clubs, Messi is still way out in front, though it remains to be seen how long he will remain there, or at Barcelona.
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