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Cristiano Ronaldo beats Messi, Beckham to become world's wealthiest footballer

Real Madrid aand Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo takes over from retired 2013 winner David Beckham at the top of richest footballers' index, with Samuel Eto'o, Wayne Rooney and Kaka rounding off the top five

London: Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the world's richest footballer after topping the annual list of players' net worth compiled by Goal.

The Real Madrid superstar held off Barcelona rival Lionel Messi in the Goal Rich List 2014 with an estimated wealth of €148 million.

The Goal Rich List is collated by a team of analysts and takes into account all streams of revenue for active footballers over the course of their careers.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo beat the likes of Samuel Eto'o, Wayne Rooney and Kaka to be crowned world's wealthiest footballer. File Pic/AFP

Ronaldo succeeds David Beckham, who led the way on the 2013 list but called time on his playing career last May.

Only current professionals are eligible with the earnings of more than 200 contenders assessed before Goal's experts finalised the top 10.

Ronaldo has enjoyed a remarkable 12 months in which his value to club and country has never been more evident.

He scored all four goals as Portugal beat Sweden in the World Cup play-offs, landed the 2013 Ballon d'Or and signed a record-breaking new five-year deal with Madrid.

Messi came in second after inspiring Barcelona to the Spanish title and signing up for a range of lucrative endorsements. It was a mixed year for the Argentinian, however, who appeared in a Spanish court in September to testify over alleged tax fraud relating to commercial contracts and lost his grip on the Ballon d'Or after a year blighted by injuries.

Wayne Rooney makes the top four on the list following Manchester United's decision to offer him the biggest contract in British football history, worth €365,000 a week.

Neymar's controversial transfer to Barcelona sees him rocket up the standings to sixth, with his parents' €40m 'compensation' payment included Goal's figures due to its game-changing significance.

The rest of the list is made up of global superstars, who have accrued huge wealth over significant spells at the top of the professional game.

Samuel Eto'o is at number three, ahead of Rooney, thanks largely to the millions he earned at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, with Kaka, Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gianluigi Buffon and Thierry Henry completing the top 10.

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