The Associated Press
LONDON — Forbes magazine says David Beckham still reigns supreme as soccer’s top-earning player.
The Galaxy’s 35-year-old midfielder earns $40 million 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 while on loan from the Galaxy to AC Milan.
Portuguese midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo is second on the Forbes list, earning $30 million a year. Ronaldo’s major sponsors include Nike, Coca-Cola and, like Beckham, Giorgio Armani. Ronaldo, the 2008 FIFA 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. He signed a six-year contract that pays an estimated $15.5 million in the first year, then increases 25 percent each season.
Brazilian playmaker Kaka, Ronaldo’s teammate at Madrid, is third on the list, earning $25 million annually — the same amount earned by Brazil’s Ronaldinho.
Rounding out the top 10 are French forward Thierry Henry ($24 million), Lionel Messi, the reigning FIFA Player of the Year, ($21 million), Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard ($17 million) with teammate John Terry ($16 million) in eighth, then Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic ($16 million) and Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard ($15 million).
Wednesday, Forbes ranked Manchester United as soccer’s most valuable team. Real Madrid was second and Arsenal was third — the same top three as last year.
As for the most valuable Major League Soccer team … maybe it doesn’t register on Forbes’ flow charts.