You may be surprised when you learn how much the 10 richest soccer players of 2009 made. Soccer in Europe is hugely competitive and has an enormous following of loyal fans. With such a high demand for the best players and the most exciting soccer, the ten richest soccer players make huge salaries, and each year contracts and trades seem to involve more money than ever before. The following list is the ten richest soccer players of 2009 based on annual salary and other endorsements.
- David Beckham David Beckham is an English soccer player who played for many years at Manchester United and for the English national team. He was offered an enormous contract to move to the United States to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy helping him top the list of the ten richest soccer players. His annual salary in 2009 was $47.6 million.
- Lionel Messi This Argentinean soccer player also plays for FC Barcelona as a forward. His career has been distinguished by amazing play and many honors, including being winning the FIFA Player of the Year in 2009. Messi is second on the list of the ten richest soccer players with a salary of $42 million.
- Ronaldinho Ronaldinho is the third of the ten richest soccer players. The Brazilian player has spent much of his career at FC Barcelona, a team well known for expensive super-star players. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. His 2009 salary was $30 million.
- Thierry Henry This French superstar has played forward and wing for Arsenal and FC Barcelona, as well as the French national team. In October 2007, he set a new record number of goals and became France’s top goal scorer. A prolific goal scorer, he was awarded the European Golden Boot for top goal scorer in 2004 and 2005 and he was twice runner up for the FIFA World Player of the Year. Henry’s annual salary in 2009 was $22.4 million placing him fourth on the list of the ten richest soccer players.
- Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese forward who has played for both Manchester United and Real Madrid. His trade deal from Manchester United to Real Madrid was worth $132 million. He holds many honors, including being named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2008. His annual salary is $19.1 million, making him one of the ten richest soccer players of 2009.
- Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney is a striker in the English Premier League and has played for both Everton and Manchester United. He was awarded England Player of the Year in 2008 and earned $17.8 million in 2009.
- Frank Lampard Frank Lampard is a English center midfielder who has played for West Ham United, Chelsea and represented the English National Team. He was runner up for FIFA World Player of the Year in 2005 and made $17.1 million in 2009.
- Samuel Eto'o Samuel Eto'o is a Cameroon striker who has played for Real Madrid, F.C. Barcelona and the Cameroon national team. In 1998 he became the second youngest person in history to play in the World Cup at age 17. He was selected as the best forward in the Champions League in the 2005-2006 season and was awarded the African Golden Ball in 2003, 2004, and 2005. He earned $15 million in 2009.
- Michael Owen Michael Owen is an English striker who has played for Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid in his career. He began his international career with England in 1998 at the age of 19 to become England's youngest player and youngest goal scorer at the time. He earned $12.8 million in 2009.
- Ruud van Nistelrooy Rudd van Nistelrooy is a Dutch striker who plays for Real Madrid. He has scored 60 goals in the Champions League, the second-highest number on record. His 2009 earnings were $11 million to round out the list of the richest soccer players of 2009.
- David Beckham
- Lionel Messi
- Thierry Henry
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Wayne Rooney
- Frank Lampard
- Samuel Eto'o
- Michael Owen
- Ruud van Nistelrooy
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