David Beckham still tops the list of highest earning football player in the world. But Ronaldo rules when it comes to salary alone, according to Portuguese marketing agency Futebol Finance.

50 highest paid football players in the world

1 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, £11.3million)
2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona, £10.4million)
3 Lionel Messi (Barcelona, £9.1million)
4 Samuel Eto’o (Internazionale, £9.1million)
5 Kaka (Real Madrid, £8.7million)
6 Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City, £7.4million)
7 Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, £7.4million)
8 Carlos Tevez (Manchester City, £7million)
9 John Terry (Chelsea, £6.5million)
10 Frank Lampard (Chelsea, £6.5million)

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David Beckham remains the highest-earning football player in the world, for the third year running, according to Forbes magazine. The 35-year-old earned $40m (£26m) in 2009, with about 80% of that coming from sponsors such as Adidas, Giorgio Armani and Motorola.

Cristiano Ronaldo is second on the Forbes list, earning $30m (£19.5m) a year. The Portugal midfielder’s major sponsors include Nike, Coca-Cola and, like Beckham, Giorgio Armani. He signed a six-year contract with real Madrid that pays an estimated $15.5m in the first year, then increases by 25%.

3rd to 10th: Kaká, Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Steven Gerrard.

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Lionel Messi was rewarded for a stunning year in which he helped Barcelona to an unprecedented six trophies by being named FIFA’s World Player of the Year.

The 22-year-old won the award for the first time, beating last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo, his two clubmates Andres Iniesta and Xavi and Brazil midfielder Kaka. He was presented with the trophy at a glittering awards gala in Zurich.

Also, the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, voted by members of the international professional footballers’ union FIFPro:

Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), John Terry (Chelsea), Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd), Patrice Evra (Man Utd), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Fernando Torres (Liverpool).

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Manchester United claimed the UEFA Champions League trophy in a dramatic match in Moscow. The game was decided with penalty shoot-outs after a 1-1 draw, and United were the luckier team to triumph at 6-5 with the spot kicks.

Ronaldo almost turned from hero to villain in the match, scoring the opening goal for United but missed a crucial penalty during the penalty shoot-out. Fortunately John Terry (unfortunate for him) missed a penalty later which could have gave Chelsea the cup and thus given United the lifeline again… and Van der Sar eventually took advantage of with a fine save against Nicholas Anelka for United’s triumph.

It was a tense and tight game; either side could have won it, and either side would be deserving winner if they won it. United dominated the first half, but Chelsea dominated the later part of the game. Lady luck was obviously on United side though, as Chelsea twice hit the woodwork… and there is nothing to explain how Terry could have missed the penalty besides luck (or no luck).

With this trophy it seems like Ronaldo is on course to claim both the European and world title as the best footballer of the year. Well, that is unless some messiah appears during the Euro competition which outshines the 42 goals Ronaldo has scored this season… but who knows, Ronaldo could yet again be the shiniest star in Euro 2008.

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