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David Beckham still makes more money than everybody else

Mar 20, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT

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Blame it on astronomical French taxes or call it David Beckham’s altruism, but the world’s most recognizable soccer player is taking a relative pittance in wages at Paris Saint-Germain. Regardless, the former LA Galaxy icon is still the top earning player in world soccer.

France Football released their annual list yesterday, and despite only five percent of his income being brought in through wages, Beckham will made €36 million this season. That’s about $46.6 million, or about $1.4 million more than Lionel Messi, whose salary makes up just over one-third of his income.

That’s worth a little consideration. Lionel Messi is the best player of most of our lifetimes. He’s in his prime, seems to improve year-on-year, and is playing for one of the three or four more marketable clubs in the world. He embodies almost every single thing you’d want in an athlete, yet Brand Beckham, carefully cultivated over almost two decades, can still out-earn Messi long after the player has left his prime.

Messi can break scoring records, win trophy after trophy, and threaten to claim best player ever status before his 26th birthday, but as long as David Beckham keep playing, the number one spot on France Football’s annual list may be off limits.

Here’s the entire top 10.

1. David Beckham, Paris Saint Germain (France) – $46.6 million

2. Lionel Messi, Barcelona (Spain) – $45.2 million

3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid (Spain) – $38.7 million

4. Samuel Eto’o, Anzhi Makhachkala (Russia) – $31 million

5. Neymar, Santos (Brazil) – $25.8 million

6. Sergio Agüero, Manchester City (England) – $24.5 million

7. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United (England) – $23.2 million

8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain (France) – $22.6 million

9. Yaya Touré, Manchester City (England) – $21.4 million

10. Fernando Torres, Chelsea (England) – $21.0 million

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