The most well-heeled boot-wearers in Britain.
1. David Beckham £125m
England Age 34
Amid the hoo-ha about David Beckham's mega-lucrative five-year contract to play in the US Major League Soccer, few bothered to make clear that the quoted £128m figure was utterly dependent on maximising sponsorship and attendance at games. Beckham has manfully tried to juggle those balls while making plain his desire to have a fourth World Cup finals appearance with England - which means regular football far closer to the watchful eye of Fabio Capello, hence the loan spell at AC Milan.
Beckham is clearly doing what he loves most – playing football – while he still can. It's been a handsome living: he was on £116,000 a week in Spain, where high-earning foreign nationals are given generous tax breaks. A quarter of his earnings come from Asia, and his company Footwork Productions made £10.5m profit in 2007. But in time, the widely-derided "missus" might come to be the main breadwinner: Victoria Beckham's dvb label is carving out a niche in the high-end fashion market.
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2. Michael Owen £38m
Manchester United Age 29
Michael Owen may be on a pay-as-you-play deal drastically reduced from his £110,000 weekly salary at Newcastle United, but money can't buy what he wants: a squad place at a fourth World Cup finals. He'd lost his England place during an ill-fated spell at St James' Park after a club-record £16m move in 2005.
Back in 2001, while scoring a hat-trick in Germany, he was the advertising face of breakfast cereal Nestlé Sporties; he also advertised washing powder Persil, in a contract worth £1m. He has been an ambassador for the Swiss watchmaker Tissot since 1998, has a contract with car manufacturer Jaguar, was a cover star for Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 and his Umbro deal nets him £2m a year, lifting his earnings to north of £7.5m a year.
His Owen Promotions company showed £7m net assets in 2007-08. He also has extensive racing and bloodstock interests and is said to be increasingly moving into this sphere – but with that market in the doldrums, falling property prices and a lower income this year, we cut Owen back to £38m.
3. Wayne Rooney £37m
Manchester United Age 23
He's come a long way from Croxteth – and not just down the East Lancs Road. Rooney left his Liverpool roots to sign for Manchester United in 2004 for a £31m fee and is paid £100,000 a week by the club; he has also had lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Mercedes and EA Sports, which bring in around £6m a year.
His five-book Harper Collins deal netted him a £5m advance. OK! magazine paid £3.2m for the photographic rights to his wedding to Coleen, and the happy couple bagged more than £1m to front a major ad campaign by Asda, the shop where she once worked. The Rooneys live in a £4.25m home in Cheshire and have a Florida holiday home as well. Despite the property slump which has hit Rooney's investments, we raise him slightly this year to around £37m.
4. Rio Ferdinand £30m
Manchester United Age 30
Rio may be hampered my niggling injuries, but he's comfortably rich. In April 2008, his salary was upped to around £120,000 a week.
A lucrative boot deal with Nike provides extra funds to channel into his extensive property portfolio that takes in London, Morocco and the Caribbean. He owns 60% of the White Chalk recording company which he hopes will help him realise his ambition to become a music mogul. It made a £100,000 loss in 2007-08, while his personal company, RGF Enterprises, only publishes abbreviated accounts.
But with property values down we only raise Ferdinand slightly this year.
5. Ryan Giggs £24m
Manchester United Age 35
Knocking on 36 but still as productive as ever, Ryan Giggs is that rarity: a Manchester United player who is widely respected.
His 20 years of top-flight salary have been bolstered by a clutch of lucrative sponsorship deals. Reebok paid him £6.5m over six years, and over the years he has appeared in adverts for Sovil Titus, Citizen Watches, Givenchy, Fuji, Patek Phillipe, Quorn Burgers and Celcom.
He signed a one-year contract extension at Old Trafford for 2008-09 and extended that by a year to June 2010. His weekly earnings are around £75,000. His company, Ryan Giggs Ltd, has around £2.9m net assets as at the end of 2007.
6. Michael Ballack £22m
Chelsea Age 33
Michael Ballack may retire after the 2010 World Cup. He won't need another job. His free-transfer move from Bayern Munich allowed Chelsea to pay him more than £130,000 a week, making Ballack one of the best paid footballers in the UK. He has big sponsorship deals, including Adidas, Coke, McDonald’s and T-Mobile, adding about £2m to his annual earnings. But we peg his wealth back to £22m this year as property values are down. Chin up, Micky.
7. Frank Lampard £21m
Chelsea Age 31
Frank Lampard should raise a glass to Jose Mourinho.
After helping him become one of the continent's most feared midfielders, the Portuguese expessed interest in taking Lampard to Inter Milan – which persuaded Chelsea to give the Londoner a five-year deal worth £33m, one that will see his wages peak at £140,000 a week (£7.3m a year). We add another £1m a year from his boot sponsors Adidas. Lampard has three companies including Frank Lampard Promotions, with £1.4m net assets in total in 2007-08.
The recent split with his fiancée will have hit his finances, however, so we add just £1m to last year’s £20m valuation.
8. Steven Gerrard £20m
Liverpool Age 29
Liverpool’s talisman is paid £120,000 a week, and most Reds fans will say he earns every penny.
Endorsement deals with Adidas and Lucozade add around £750,000 a year, giving him annual earnings of at least £7m. His company, imaginatively titled Steven Gerrard Promotions, showed £2.5m net assets in 2007-08. However, he has picked a peculiar year to turn into Sarah Beeny by investing £5m in Merseyside penthouse apartments, so his net worth will have been affected by the property slump. As a result we push him up by a mere million from last year.
9. John Terry £18m
Chelsea Age 28
Any man's loyalty would be tested by the offer of £250,000 a week. But John Terry snubbed Manchester City to remain as Chelsea's club captain.
His new contract is a mere £160,000 a week, although he also has the right to a testimonial, worth around £2.5m. Endorsements, headed by Umbro, supplement his wages. Terry's company Sports Market & Promotions is surprisingly light in net assets with just £315,000 in 2007.
Terry is among those to have invested heavily in property developments, some of them overseas, so this year we add just £1m to Terry’s valuation, taking him to £18m.
10. Didier Drogba £16m
Chelsea Age 31
By leaving Marseilles for Chelsea a £24.5m transfer in July 2004 (a year after he had moved to l'OM for £3.3m), Didier Drogba increased his wages fourfold. In November 2006 he doubled them again with a four-year deal worth £90,000 a week. Eight months later that was tidied up to a nice round £100,000 a week. Two summers further on, it was extended by a couple of years to 2012 (by which time Drogba will be 34). His £4.7m annual basic can be significantly augmented with bonuses triggered when he wins trophies or tops 15 goals in a season. And let's face it, he usually does.
11. Nicolas Anelka £14m
Chelsea Age 31
If signing-on fees maketh the man's bank balance, Nicolas Anelka should be well set up. His £15m move from Bolton to Chelsea made him the most valuable player in football history in cumulative transfer fees.
Bolton had broken their own transfer record by paying £8m to Fenerbahce, who had paid £7m for him; before them he had been employed by Manchester City (£13m), Liverpool (loan), Paris St Germain (£20m) and Real Madrid, who had paid an eye-watering £22.3m for him from Arsenal.
His near £4m Chelsea salary, past earnings and share of his huge transfer deals, keeps him at £14m in the current climate.
11. Ashley Cole £14m
Chelsea Age 28
Like his Chelsea and England defensive colleague John Terry, Ashley Cole signed a new contract this September. Thankfully, the offer on the table didn't cause enough outrage to make him swerve off the road.
The four-year deal, said to be worth £120,000 a week – a clear improvement on his previous annual salary of £4m (that's £80,000 per week, give or take the odd thousand). His Chelsea wage has been beefed up with a lucrative Adidas boot deal. His company, Kenzie Promotions, is also very valuable showing an £881,000 profit on £1.4m sales in 2007 and £474,000 net assets in 2008.
11. Fernando Torres £14m
Liverpool Age 25
Fernando Torres finally signed his new four-year contract with Liverpool in August. The Spain striker had agreed to the new deal in May but departed for the Confederations Cup in South Africa without having signed it.
Torres was already contracted to the club until 2013 after signing a six-year deal in 2007, but the new agreement improves his salary from £90,000 a week to £120,000 a week and includes an option to extend his stay for another year. That Torres will earn close to £6m annually confirms his position as the club's superstar.
Torres played for six years at Atletico Madrid before his £20m move to Anfield. With advertising endorsements ranging from Nike, Pepsi and Pringles to a Spanish hair salon and dog training school, Torres should now easily be worth £14m even with property prices falling.
14. Emile Heskey £13m
Aston Villa Age 31
Now enjoying a renaissance at the focal point of Fabio Capello's England attack, Heskey has earned plenty of praise for his unselfish contributions. He's also earned plenty of money.
The £3.5m that Villa spent to bring him from Wigan in January 2009 makes it £26.5m spent on him since 2000. He was Liverpool's record signing in 2000 when Gerard Houllier spent £11m for the burly Leicester centre-forward. Four years later he moved to Birmingham for £6.25m.
He had earned £8.2m at Liverpool but at St Andrews, he had a five-year contract worth £30,000 a week. After his unsuccessful battle against relegation with the Blues, Heskey moved to Wigan for £5.5m in the summer of 2006. His Wigan contract was worth £40,000 a week. In all Heskey's share of the transfer fees, his nine years at the top and a boot deal with Nike take him to £13m.
15. Petr Cech £12m
Chelsea Age 27
Probably the highest-paid goalkeeper in the world, Cech signed a five-year endorsement deal with Samsung and Adidas in 2008 said to be worth up to £25m. Coming on top of his club wage at Chelsea of £90,000 a week, also signed in 2008, Cech is now making at least £10m a year.
With five years in the Premier League behind him, Cech should easily be worth £12m at the very least. There's a joke in there about saving, but we'll leave it to you while we try to shoe-horn in something about Czech Cech's checked cheques.
15. Damien Duff £12m
Fulham Age 30
Top-flight football means a lot to Damien Duff. After all, he was only three years into a five-year, £70,000-a-week contract with Newcastle United – who, infamously, hadn't thought to include relegation clauses in their players' contracts. Oops.
Duff could have sat tight for the £7m remaining on his contract but he opted to stay in the top flight with Fulham. You get the impression football is more important to him than money; he stayed remarkably calm in 2003 when Chelsea, emboldened and empowered by the newfound wealth provided by Roman Abramovich, gradually increased their offer for the then Blackburn winger until they reached £17m and triggered a release clause in his contract. The Irishman simply shrugged his shoulders, moved clubs and set about impressing his new employers.
Duff has invested heavily in property in Ireland, with homes also in London, Newcastle and the Caribbean. He has an endorsement contract with Lucozade and his company Lightzest showed £916,621 net assets in 2007. But Irish property prices have crashed and despite his share of transfer fees we cut Duff back to £12m this year.
15. Gary Neville £12m
Manchester United Age 34
Manchester United captain and former England stalwart Gary Neville has been likened to a shop steward for his combative defence of players' rights and interests. Neville is idolised at Old Trafford as he is a United man through and through. A talented cricketer in his youth, Neville was one of the famous youth team at United called Fergie's Fledglings and signed for the club in 1991. He made his debut in 1994. A year later he made his debut for England and is now England's most capped right-back with 85 caps.
Neville has won eight Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two European Cups and one League Cup, the last of which was his first trophy as captain. He signed an £11m deal with the club in 2001. Since then his club wages have risen to around £2.6m annually. With past endorsements including a Diadora boot deal, a role in a Pepsi ad and a column for The Times, we reckon he now earns over £3m a year. He has two homes near Manchester including a £1.5m Manchester penthouse plus a £700,000 villa on Malta. Even with property prices down he should still be worth £12m after-tax.
18. Dimitar Berbatov £11m
Manchester United Age 27
His acrimonious £30.75m transfer to Manchester United in August 2008 saw Bertabov increase his pay from £45,000 to £80,000 a week, following two highly successful seasons with Tottenham Hotspur. He had joined Spurs for £10.9m from the German club Bayer Leverkusen in 2006.
The Bulgarian’s languid style has not endeared him to the Stretford End but he is gaining confidence and should justify his fee. But with property prices down and as Berbatov is a strong supporter of charity in Bulgaria, we cut him back to £11m this year.
18. Joe Cole £11m
Chelsea Age 27
Joe Cole has put new contract talks and thoughts of an England recall on hold while he returns to full fitness for Chelsea. Since suffering cruciate ligament damage, Cole was sidelined for eight months and watched Fabio Capello's England continue their 100% qualifying record on their way to the World Cup while Chelsea start the Premier League in domineering fashion. He has now returned from injury and taken his place in the Chelsea squad.
His 2003 move from West Ham to Chelsea meant his weekly salary rose from £25,000 to £30,000. He moved for a £6.6m fee which will have meant a hefty cut for him. He signed an improved £80,000-a-week contract in June 2006 and has endorsement deals with Samsung and Adidas. He enjoys the usual footballer trappings of property in Dubai and fast cars. There is little in his company, Joe Cole Promotions, with just £10,000 net assets in 2007-08. With property prices down we value him at £11m.
20. Robinho £10m
Manchester City Age 25
Brazilian star Robinho was personally picked by Pelé as his heir apparent aged just 15. He went on to lead Brazilian club Santos to the title in 2002, its first since Pelé himself played for the same club. In July 2005, Spanish giants Real Madrid signed Robinho for around £20m. He was whisked from under the noses of Chelsea by Manchester City on 1 September 2008, the final day of the Premier League summer transfer window.
The fee was £32.5m, with wages in the region of £160,000 per week, trebling his Real salary. It took place on the same day the club was bought out by the Arab investment company Abu Dhabi United Group. He has sporadically struggled since to justify his wages, but with a Nike sponsorship deal and share of transfers, Robinho should be worth £10m right now.