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Yemi Olus with Agency Reports
March 25, 2010 02:54AM
Barcelona's Lionel Messi is now richer than England's David Beckham. Photo: REUTERS

These are certainly the best of times for Barcelona star Lionel Messi who has extended his lead in the game beyond the pitch by becoming the highest earner in world football, putting an end to David Beckham's two-year reign as the world's best-paid footballer.

The 22-year-old Argentine forward pockets an estimated £29.6 million annually, closely followed by Beckham at £27.3m, while Real Madrid hotshot Cristiano Ronaldo sits in third place with his estimated earnings having hit the £27m mark.

A £3.6 million bonus earned by Messi for winning the treble last season with Barcelona took him ahead of the England star, according to the rich list.

Messi was also ranked as the fourth highest-earning sports person in the world, behind golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and basketball star LeBron James.

Carlos Tevez takes the title of highest earner in English football, coming in seventh place overall at £13.8m.

The 'Special One' leads the pack
Jose Mourinho, whose Inter team last week knocked his former club Chelsea out of Europe, saw his stock rise further as he topped the list of football's highest-earning managers.

The Portuguese manager and self-proclaimed 'Special One' earns £11.7m a year, with Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini in second place making £10.8m. Former Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, now coaching at little-known big spenders Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan, comes in third at £8.5m.

Fabio Capello edges past Guus Hiddink into fifth, the pair being the only two national team coaches on the top 10 horizon.