Lionel Messi overtakes David Beckham as the world's top-earning soccer player
According to France Football, one of the world's oldest and most respected soccer magazines, FC Barcelona and Argentina national team star Lionel Messi is now the highest paid player in the game.
Messi, 22, earns a reported $44.1-million a year in salary and endorsement income. The Galaxy's Beckham, 35, who was on top of France Football's "rich list" the last two years, earns a reported $40.6-million, according to the magazine.
Messi's who will be playing for Argentina against the U.S. in East Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday, reportedly makes $13.36-million in basic salary, another $5.36-million in bonuses and $25.4-million in endorsements and sponsorships.
Close on the heels of Messi and Beckham is Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo, with a combined income of $40 million.
The rest of France Football's top 10 money makers are Kaka (Real Madrid), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Ronaldinho (Flamengo), Carlos Tevez (Manchester City), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Samuel Eto'o (Inter Milan).
Among coaches, Real Madrid's Portuguese mentor Jose Mourinho leads the pack with an annual income of $17.3 million, followed by Manchester City's Roberto Mancini, with $16 million.
-- Grahame L. Jones
Photo: FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, top, celebrates after scoring against Arsenal on March 8. Credit: Siu Wu / Associated Press