By Barry Janoff
Aug. 1, 2015: Soccer players are doing pretty well for themselves these days, with a growing number of them listed among the highest-paid athletes in the world.
On Forbes' list for 2015, released in June, Cristiano Ronaldo was No. 3 in the world, with an estimated income of $79.6 million (U.S.) — $27 million of which came from endorsement deals.
Ronaldo was the first non-boxer on the list — which was topped by Floyd Mayweather Jr. ($300 million income from fights and endorsements) and Manny Pacquiao ($160 million income) — and just ahead of soccer icon Lionel Messi, who placed No. 4 with $73.8 million in income ($22 million from endorsement deals).
Among other international soccer stars, Zlatan Ibrahimovic came in at No. 14 on the Forbes list ($39.1 million income), Gareth Bale at No. 18 ($35 million) and Neymar at No. 23 ($31 million income).
With the 24th season of the Barclays English Premier League beginning Aug. 8, Wealth-X has released its list of the EPL's richest players.
Wealth-X describes itself as a "global authority on wealth intelligence, providing sales, marketing, strategy and compliance solutions to clients in the financial services, luxury, not-for-profit and education sectors.
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney took the top spot on the list, emerging as the wealthiest footballer in the league with a net worth of $110 million (U.S.). In 2014, Rooney signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension with ManU.
Forbes, in its list of highest-paid athletes, had Rooney at No. 34 overall, with income at $26.9 million, with about $20 million (U.S.) in salary and the rest in income from such endorsement deals as Nike and Samsung.
Rooney also appears in a new spot, "The Beautiful Game," from Chevrolet, which is a lead partner and jersey sponsor for ManU (pictured above, along with teammates Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick).
Yaya Touré of Manchester City is second on the Wealth-X list with an estimated worth of $75 million.
On the Forbes list, he came in at No. 83, with $20 million in income, all but $3 million from his soccer salary.
John Terry, captain for defending EPL champion Chelsea, and at 34 the oldest player on the list, is listed at No. 3 with a net worth of $65 million.
Rooney's teammate, Bastian Schweinsteiger, is No. 4 in teh EPL with an estimated net worth of $60 million. This coming season marks his first with Manchester United following his $23 million signing from Bayern Munich earlier this month.
Fifth on the Wealth-X list is Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero, whose worth was estimated at $55 million.
Manchester United itself is the fifth most-valuable sports franchise in the world, at $3.1 billion, according to Forbes, behind Real Madrid ($3.26 billion), the NFL's Dallas Cowboys ($3.2 billion), MLB's New York Yankees ($3.1 billion) and Barcelona ($3.16 billion).
This coming season marks the first for ManU and adidas, which in 2014 signed a ten-year deal to replace Nike, valued at $1.3 billion. Chevrolet's seven-year deal with the club, which began last season, is valued at $600 million, according to industry analysts.
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