Many “highest-paid” lists, especially when analysing footballers, take into account all income streams, from brand endorsements to bonuses.

After analysing earnings data from a number of different sources, like Forbes, France Football and Total Sportek, Finance Football claims to have come up with the most reliable and comprehensive list of the world’s highest-paid football stars.

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Its list ranks players based solely on base salary per year.

The prominence of Chinese-based players is interesting. Finance Football reveals that while China only started making big moves in the football world two years ago, it has managed to overtake the US to become the largest foreign investor in European football.

Earlier this year, a Chinese consortium bought AC Milan, one of Europe’s biggest and most successful clubs, for £622 million (R10,8 billion), reports Daily Mail. Chinese-based players are among some of the highest paid in the world.

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Argentine Carlos Tévez shot up the the list earlier this year after signing a contract with Shanghai Shenhua. Tévez is estimated to be earning around £615 000 (R10,7 million) per week with the Chinese club, but he denied earning this sum in an interview with Daily Mail, saying that his “salary isn’t as high as the legends, but in order to respect my teammates, I won’t tell you how much”.

Here’s the complete list of the world’s highest-paid footballers, as compiled by Finance Football.

10. Wayne Rooney

Team: Manchester United 

Earnings: €15,8 million (R233 million)

9. Axel Witsel 

Team: Tlajin Quanjian

Earnings: €16 million (R235,9 million)

8. Neymar da Silva Santos 

Team: Barcelona 

Earnings: €17,6 million (R259,6 million)

7. Paul Pogba 

Team: Manchester United 

Earnings: €17,7 million (R261,1 million)

6. Gareth Bale 

Team: Real Madrid 

Earnings: €19,5 million (R287,6 million)

5. Hulk

Team: Shanghai SIPG

Earnings: €20 million (R294,9 million)

4. Oscar dos Santos Emboaba Júnior 

Team: Shanghai SIPG

Earnings: €24,4 million (R359,9 million)

3. Lionel Messi

Team: Barcelona 

Earnings: €36 million (R530,9 million)

2. Carlos Tévez 

Team: Shanghai Shenhua

Earnings: €37,5 million (R553,08 million)

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Team: Real Madrid 

Earnings: €38,9 million (R573,7 million)

Additional sources: Daily Mail and Finance Football