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The Highest-Paid Footballers Annually Since 2010

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the footballers who have dominated Forbes' Rich List over the past few years, but which other players earned the most per year since 2010?

Click through the gallery above to see the highest-paid football players per year, and how much they earned in those 12 months, since 2010, according to Forbes!

Football salaries have seen a massive rise over the past decade, with Ronaldo earning more than twice as much as David Beckham did in 2010.

The former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid star was the game's top earner in 2010, receiving $43.7 million (R729 million) in base salary, bonuses and income from sponsorship deals.

Beckham dominated Forbes' Rich List for the next three years until Ronaldo overtook him in 2014, when the Portugal superstar saw a massive increase in both his Real Madrid salary as well as his sponsorship deals thanks to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

From 2013 to 2014, Ronaldo's salary rose from $23 million (R384 million) to $52 million (R868 million), while his endorsement deals climbed from $21 million (R351 million) to $28 million (R467 million).

His annual income peaked in 2019, when he received $65 million (R1.1 billion) in base pay and bonuses from Juventus, plus another $44 million (R734 million) from his sponsors, including Nike and Herbal Life.

However, longstanding rival Messi overtook him in overall earnings in 2018 already, and peaked at a total income of $127 million (R2.1 billion) in 2019. A massive $92 million (R1.5 billion) came from a bumper new contract with FC Barcelona and the other $35 million (R584 million) from his sponsors.

The 2020 figures are, of course, impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced many clubs to cut salaries.

As a consequence, Ronaldo is expected to finish the year with $105 million (R1.75 billion) – $60 million (R1 billion) in salary and bonuses plus $45 million (R751 million) in endorsements, while Messi looks set to end the year with an income of $104 million (R1.74 billion) – $72 million (R1.2 billion) from Barca and $32 million (R534 million) from the likes of adidas and Lays.

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