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Lionel Messi Named Highest-Paid Footballer Ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo   
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Lionel Messi's total income for 2014—including his wages at Barcelona and numerous sponsorship deals—stood at a whopping £47.8 million, making him the world's highest-paid footballer ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

This is according to a survey by France Football, which reports Messi's basic salary of £26 million is "almost doubled" when his commercial earnings are factored in. Ronaldo is the second-highest-paid player with £39.7 million finding its way into his bank, while Neymar is third with a measly £26.8 million.

Interestingly, Messi's ascension to becoming the most avidly paid footballer was predicted in March 2014 when Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed his latest contract would push him beyond's Ronaldo's earnings, per Kieran Canning of Agence France-Presse.

Messi has sponsorship deals with sportswear company Adidas, can be seen on the front of EA Sports' FIFA 15 and appears alongside other global stars—such as Chelsea's Didier Drogba and Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant—in adverts for Turkish Airlines.

Paris Saint-Germain's Thiago Silva is the first non-La Liga entrant on the list, while Manchester United's Robin van Persie sits just below him in fifth, having made £18.8 million, per McLeman.

Gareth Bale's excellent 2014—which saw him score goals in the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals—marks him sixth (£17.5 million), while Wayne Rooney's £300,000 weekly salary and commercial deals saw him rack up a million less in seventh.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero is a million further back. His team-mate Yaya Toure and Chelsea's Eden Hazard round off the top 10 with £14.7 million each.
Source: bleacherreport.com

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