Soccer salaries exceed millions of dollars, pounds, yen and euro annually. Professional soccer players are the highest paid athletes of any sport in the world. In fact, as of May, 2012, in the top 5 highest paying teams of any sport in the world, the top four are soccer (football) teams. Two are from La Liga in Spain and Serie A in Italy, and two are from the English Premier League (aka: Barclay’s Premier League or EPL) in England. Rounding out the top 5 highest paying athletic teams in the world are the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA (National Basketball Association).
Now, these numbers are strictly based on the salary that the club (team management) pays it’s players. These figures do not take into account endorsements or other sources of income that usually follow world renowned athletes. When you take those numbers into account, soccer players fall to the #3 and #4 spots, and when you include individual sports such as golf, tennis and boxing, soccer players fall to 8th and 9th in the top 10. The great thing about endorsement income though, is that you don’t have to be particularity good at your sport to earn big money. David Beckham, who is now in the twilight of his career and takes up the #8 spot on Forbes Highest Paid Athletes list, earns a meager $9 million annually from the LA Galaxy, but makes an additional $37 million in endorsements from such companies as Burger King and Samsung.
The highest paying athletic team in the world is FC Barcelona and has an average salary of $8,680,569 a year, with each player earning about $166,934 a WEEK!
Second in line is AC Milan, from Italian professional league Serie A. It’s interesting to note that the New York Yankees and AC Milan have nearly identical payrolls, but the AC Milan players have higher individual salaries than the Yankees players.
FC (Fútbol Club) Barcelona is more than a football (soccer) club. It’s actually a sports club with teams competing in professional leagues of Basketball (since 1926), Handball (since 1942), Futsal (since 1978), and Roller Hockey (since 1942).
As a club, it has members that pay annual fees to belong. Current membership is about 155,000, called “socis” or, “socios” (social members ) who each pay up to €140 annually for the privilege. The club has a board of directors that governs the club, and the members elect a president of the board every four years. The annual budget of the club is approved by randomly selected members who are appointed to serve as delegates to the general assembly. Most Spanish clubs, including Real Madrid, are run in the same manner.
FC Barcelona members receive a variety of benefits, including:
The current elected president of FC Barcelona is Sandro Rosell i Feliu, elected in 2010.
(the forerunner to the UEFA Europa League)(*)
(*) Non-UEFA competition
Note: 14 players from FC Barcelona represented 5 different countries in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
One of the most successful soccer clubs in Italian history, AC Milan have won a total of 29 major trophies. AC Milan is 2nd to Boca Juniors, as the most successful club in the world in terms of international competitions won, with a record of 14 European trophies and four World titles. AC Milan has earned the right to place a star on its jersey in recognition of the fact that it has won at least ten scudetti. In addition, the club is permanently allowed to display a multiple-winner badge on its shirt as it has won more than five European Championship Cups.
Manchester City Football Club was purchased by Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 and subsequently became one of the richest sports teams in the world.
While the history of Manchester City is long, they don’t have much in the way of a winning track record, when compared to teams like Chelsea FC, Mancheter United FC, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and AC Milan. However since the purchase of the team by the Abu Dhabi United Group, the team has won 2 major titles and the Community Shield.
While these salaries seem incredible, Spain, Italy, and England are also very wealthy countries. However, Italy’s, Spain’s and England’s aren’t even the highest paying top tier leagues (at this writing – September, 2012). The Chinese Super League has stepped up it’s competition for international players to boost it’s football (soccer) influence in the world, and is enticing international players to play in their league with incredible salaries (Didier Drogba just signed a salary for $300,000 a WEEK, but it’s not without controversy) to enhance the level of local competition, and thereby improve their own national players.
On the other hand, America’s Major League Soccer has salaries that average around $50k annually, and many countries in Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and South America have clubs and leagues that are termed “professional”, but the players need other employment just to feed themselves.