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The big money in world soccer; just guess who’s on top

FC Barcelona v Granada CF - La Liga

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 20: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona gives his thumb up at the end of the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Granada CF at Camp Nou on March 20, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain. With this goal Lionel Messi beats the FC Barcelona scoring record with 233 goals in official competitions. FC Barcelona won 5-3. Lionel Messi set a new FC Barcelona scoring record with 234 goals. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

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Need to borrow a few bucks from someone? Here are some good places to start.

As European soccer is on my mind – it is Saturday morning, after all – this seems like a good time to briefly review France Football’s annual list of the Top 20 highest paid players in the game. It’s a comprehensive earnings report, meaning they’ve counted up the commercial endorsement gold bricks along with weekly paychecks from clubs.

The answer to the obvious question is, “no,” the Los Angeles Galaxy is not exactly paying out Leo Messi money in salary, even if their iconic star right-footer is collecting about the same as Barcelona’s young superstar. And when I say “about the same,” … well, you know, what’s a couple million here or there?

Here’s the list, from France Football

  • 1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) $43.7 million
  • 2. David Beckham (L.A. Galaxy) $41.8 million
  • 3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) $38.7 million
  • 4. Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi Makhachkala) $30.9 million
  • 5. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) $27.4 million
  • 6. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) $24.9 million
  • 7. Yaya Toure (Manchester City) $23.3 million
  • 8. Fernando Torres (Chelsea) $22.2 million
  • 9. Kaka (Real Madrid) $20.5 million
  • 10. Phillip Lahm (Bayern Munich) $19.0 million
  • 11. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (AC Milan) $18.6 million
  • 12. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich) $18.4 million
  • 13. Neymar (Santos) $18.3 million
  • 14. Nicolas Anelka (Shanghai Shenhua) $17.2 million
  • 15. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) $17.1 million
  • 16. David Silva (Manchester City) $17.0 million
  • 17. Didier Drogba (Chelsea) $16.7 million
  • 18. Dario Conca (Guangzhou Evergrande) $16.6 million
  • 19. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) $15.5 million
  • 20. Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) $15.4 million

So, any surprises? Only that a club most have never heard of sneaked into the list, and quite highly, at that.

Samuel Eto’o, the fine Cameroonian striker and former Inter and Barca man, now collects paychecks from Anzhi Makhachkala. The Russian club, backed by wealthy investor Suleyman Kerimov, wants to be a bigger player in European soccer. Not only is Eto’o at the helm of Anzhi’s attack, the club is managed by Guus Hiddink, the busy and brainy Dutchman who has had so much success elsewhere in the global game.