REVEALED: Lionel Messi Will Out Earn Cristiano Ronaldo by €32m This Season

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is by far the highest paid player in the world this season and will finish the campaign having earned in excess of €30m more than rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi signed a new contract with Barça in November that is thought to be a major factor behind propelling him ahead of Real Madrid’s Ronaldo.


Neymar was also thought to be ahead of Ronaldo in terms of basic wages following his summer move to PSG, but the Brazilian remains behind the Portuguese overall as France Football’s list also takes into account all bonuses and sponsorship income.

Messi’s overall income this season will total an estimated €126m, ahead of Ronaldo on €94m, and Neymar on €81.5m. The trio, who were Ballon d’Or finalists together in 2015 and 2017, are way ahead of the rest of the world’s best paid players this season.

Ronaldo’s Real teammate Gareth Bale is fourth on the list with earnings of €44m, while Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is next on €29m, almost €100m less than Messi.

Real Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

La Liga players dominate the top 10, with LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic the only player other than Neymar not at a Spanish club. The Swede famously took a massive pay cut to join the Californian franchise, but his other incomes have been booming this season.

Others playing in England, China and Germany feature in the top 20:

Player​ Club​ 2017/18 Earnings (€)
​Lionel Messi ​Barcelona (ESP) €126m​
Cristiano Ronaldo​ Real Madrid (ESP)​ €94m​
Neymar​ Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)​ ​€81.5m
​Gareth Bale ​Real Madrid (ESP) €44m​
​Gerard Pique ​Barcelona (ESP) €29m​
​Toni Kroos ​Real Madrid (ESP) ​€28m
​Sergio Ramos ​Real Madrid (ESP) €27.5m​
Zlatan Ibrahimovic​ LA Galaxy (USA)​ €27m​
​Antoine Griezmann ​Atletcio Madrid (ESP) ​€26m
​Luis Suarez ​Barcelona (ESP) ​€26m
​Andres Iniesta ​Barcelona (ESP) ​€25.5m
​Ezequiel Lavezzi Hebei China Fortun​e (CHN) €25m​
Alexis Sanchez​ ​Manchester United (ENG) ​€23.5m
​Karim Benzema ​Real Madrid (ESP) ​€23.5m
​Thomas Muller ​Bayern Munich (GER) ​€23m
​Edinson Cavani ​Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) €22.5m​
Oscar​ Shanghai SIPG (CHN)​ €22m​
Robert Lewandowski​ Bayern Munich (GER)​ €22m​
​Paul Pogba ​Manchester United (ENG) ​€22m
Manuel Neuer​ Bayern Munich (GER)​ €21m​


​​Messi is the first footballer to earn more than €100m in a single season.


Bayern Munich vs Real Madrid: Picking a Combined XI Ahead of Wednesday’s UEFChampions League Clash

​After a disappointing La Liga campaign, Real Madrid will be looking to the Champions League to save their season. 

But Bayern Munich stand in their way on Wednesday and a clash against the German champions will be by no means an easy game for Madrid.

Bayern have already wrapped up the Bundesliga title this season meaning manager Jupp Heynckes has had the chance to rest his star players in preparation for the midweek fixture. Real Madrid also come into this game with fresh legs though, having not played at the weekend. 

The two teams boast some of the world’s best footballing talent, and with everyone fully prepared for the fixture it promises to be an exciting encounter. With that being said, here is a hypothetical starting XI if those talents decided to join forces and play for one team. 

1. GK: Sven Ulreich (Bayern Munich)

Had this game come a month later I may be putting Manuel Neuer in the goalkeeper slot, but the German keeper has only recently recovered from injury and is unlikely to feature in the game ahead of Sven Ulreich who has been Bayern’s number one for most of the season. 

Keylor Navas could easily have been selected in goal but Ulreich has deputised well in Neuer’s absence and boasts double the clean sheets of Navas in the league. The Bayern Munich keeper hasn’t conceded in 12 Bundesliga games, whereas Navas has only managed six clean sheets for Madrid in La Liga. 

2. RB: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Kimmich faced a hard task to replace the retired Philipp Lahm this season, but the 23 year old has stepped up to the challenge. Kimmich has registered ten assists from full-back this season in just 26 appearances, and has even bagged a couple of goals in the Champions league.

Daniel Carvajal has stood out for Madrid this season but his attacking statistics are nowhere near as impressive as Kimmich’s and the Spaniard tends to suffer from ill-discipline, having picked up 15 yellow cards this season. 

3. LB: Marcelo (Real Madrid)

David Alaba and Marcelo are arguably the two best left-backs in the world, so to choose one or the other is tough.

But Marcelo has to go in the combined XI by default. Alaba has struggled over the past week with a thigh injury and is a doubt for Wednesday’s tie.  

Marcelo, however, is a perfectly good replacement. The Brazilian was instrumental in Real Madrid’s Champions League winning campaign last season and given license to go forward can be deadly in the final third.


4. CB: Jerome Boateng

Boateng has been a mainstay in Bayern Munich’s defence since 2011 and that does not look to change anytime soon. 

He has been central Bayern and Germany’s success over recent years, helping the German club to six Bundesliga titles and his international team to a World Cup win in 2014.  

The former Manchester City man boasts strength and pace in abundance, making him one of the worlds best in his position.  

5. CB: Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos is the perfect defensive leader. 

No defender has been as influential in world football than the Madrid man in recent years. His influence on this Madrid team has been made abundantly clear in his recent absence, especially in Madrid’s 3-1 loss to Juventus in the last round of the Champions League.

Ramos’ passion, fearlessness and occasional recklessness is all part of the Madrid skipper’s charm and what has made him such a defensive icon.

6. CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

Toni Kroos has to go in this team. 

The former Bayern Munich man is absolutely vital in any success that Madrid have. His lack of pace is offset by his unrivalled ability to read the game, and his phenomenal passing range which has seen him rack up seven assists this season.

7. CM: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich)

Partnering Kroos is Thiago Alcantara. 

Thiago has been touted as the next Xavi for good reason. Just like Xavi, Thiago has a fantastic eye for as pass and is superb with the ball at his feet. 

But the 26 year old Bayern Munich man is not just a carbon copy of the Barcelona legend, and has elements of his game that even Xavi did not hold. Besides from his passing capabilities, Thiago’s defensive contribution is strong and he has shown prowess in front of goal this season. 

The Spaniard has scored 7 in all competitions this season, despite having missed a big chunk of the season through injury. 

8. CM: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Luka Modric rounds off the midfield three, ahead of the likes of James Rodriguez, Javi Martínez and Casemiro. 

The Croatian is a more well-rounded player than his competitors for the midfield position. He can defend, as well as attack at an impressive level, but the influence Modric can have on a game makes him an easy addition to this team.  

9. CAM: Isco (Real Madrid)

Another tough position to pick, the centre attacking midfield role has options such as Müller, Marco Asensio and even James Rodriguez who can also play higher up the pitch. 

But Isco’s season for Madrid makes him the obvious choice. Isco has scored six and registered six assists in La Liga this season, despite not holding a consistent position in the Madrid lineup. 

His fast feet and ability to hold up the ball make him one of the most promising players in the Madrid squad.

10. ST: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

There is really much more that needs to be said. Ronaldo started Madrid’s league campaign poorly but has since picked up 24 goals in the league and 15 in the Champions League, scoring in every single game of the competition. 

Ronaldo has found a new role as a central striker in his latter years, but the position change hasn’t made him any less potent in front of goal. 

11. ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Whether Lewandowski will still be at Bayern Munich come this time next year or indeed at the club who Bayern face on Wednesday is unknown. 

What we do know however, is that the Polish striker cannot stop scoring. He has scored 28 in 28 appearances in the Bundesliga this season making him a sure addition to this squad. 


5 Classic European Cup Clashes Between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid

Bayern Munich face Real Madrid at Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening, in a fixture that has returned some up and down results over the years. 

While both teams have endured very different fortunes in years gone by, they are now two of Europe’s biggest clubs.

In anticipation of this season defining game, here’s five classic clashes between these two teams that had very different impacts on the title.

5. Real Madrid 1-1 Bayern Munich, March 1976

In 1976 the two great aristocrats of European football were drawn against each other in the semi final of the European Cup. The meeting had anything you could possibly want in a football match; a broken nose, a pitch invasion, and some truly calamitous defending.  

Roberto Martinez opened the scoring for Real, but Bayern Munich equalised through Gerd Muller while Madrid were still protesting to the referee about a corner they felt they should have been awarded. 

Roberto Martinez broke his nose in the second half in a collision with Bayern goalkeeper Sepp Maier. Towards the end of the game, Madrid striker Santillana was shoved over in the penalty area, just for the referee to controversially wave play on. 

Incensed by the refereeing decisions a Real Madrid fan evaded police officers and dashed onto the pitch to attack Gerd Muller, and the match official. The situation was a massive embarrassment for Real Madrid, who had long resisted putting up metal cages that many European stadiums had installed.

The game finished 1-1, and Bayern Munich progressed into the final after winning the second leg 2-0. 

4. Bayern Munich 4-1 Real Madrid, April 1987

In 1987 Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were paired together again for the semi finals of 1986/87 Champions Cup. Both teams were leading their respective domestic divisions and were enjoying fine seasons in Europe.

Bayern Munich won the game 4-1 but besides from the emphatic scoreline, the game is notable for the actions of Madrid player Juanito. 

Real were already 3-1 down when Lothar Matthaus bundled into right back Chendo with a cynical two-footed challenge. Chendo jumped to his feet and shoved Matthaus to the floor. 

Juanito charged over, bringing his studs down into Matthaus’s back, in full view of the referee Bob Valentine and then proceeded to lift his right knee once more and brought it down on Matthaus’s jaw. The Madrid forward was unsurprisingly sent off and missed the second leg of the tie, in which Real were eliminated from the competition losing 4-2 on aggregate.

3. Bayern Munich 4-1 Real Madrid, March 2000

13 years on Lothar Mathaus was still on the scene, playing in the centre of a back three for Bayern Munich. 

Mehmet Scholl opened the scoring for Bayern Munich despite being offside by a comically large distance. Giovanni Elber doubled the lead after Fernando Hierro had misjudged a long punt from Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. 

Real pulled one back but two late goals from Alexander Zickler completed the rout. Bayern won 4-2 at the Bernabeu, meaning they had scored eight goals against Real in the space of just a week.

2. Real Madrid 2-1 Bayern Munich, April 2012

The two sides met again in 2012. The tie finished 3-3 on aggregate after the two legs.

The second leg was hosted by Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu. The home side were 2-1 up after 90 minutes, and the game went all the way to penalties. 

Ronaldo stepped up to take the first penalty but it was saved by Manuel Neuer. Casillas then saved from Kroos then of Bayern Munich and Lahm to put the shoot-out level, but then Sergio Ramos blazed his penalty miles over the bar, and that was that. 

1. Real Madrid 4-2 Bayern Munich, April 2017

In another tie riddled with refereeing errors Bayern Munich fell out of the Champions League quarter finals after a Ronaldo hat trick helped Real Madrid to a 4-2 win in extra time.   

Bayern had done well to get themselves back into the tie after coming into the game 2-1 down from the result in the first leg. 

The German team were on top in the game, and had brought the aggregate score back to 3-3. But referee Viktor Kassai sent off Arturo Vidal incorrectly near the end of normal time. 

Salt was rubbed into Bayern Munich wounds when Ronaldo then went on to score two offside goals in the extra time period to send Madrid into the next round. 


Bayern Munich Forward Thomas Muller Calls Real Madrid ‘Vulnerable’ Ahead of Champions League Clash

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller has tried getting under Real Madrid’s skin by claiming that the Champions League holders are “vulnerable” ahead of their semi-final clash this week. 

Die Roten will host the Spanish giants at the Allianz on Wednesday in the hopes of finally getting past that particular hurdle. And the Bayern captain has said that his side will head into the match with loads of confidence.


“We’re aware of Madrid’s qualities. We must attack them, must score goals and make use of the weaknesses Real have,” he said to reporters after Bayern beat Hannover on Saturday (H/T ​Kicker).

“They lost the second leg against Juventus 3-1, and that means that they are also vulnerable. We’ll go into this match with a lot of confidence.

“It’s a Champions League semifinal. If you play with fear, you stand no chance,” he said.

“You must be convinced that you can beat Real, don’t take it too easy but, in a certain way, remain relaxed.

Bayern exited the competition last season after losing to Real, they were also booted by Los Blancos in both 2013 and 2014. Muller, though, insists the circumstances are different this time around.


(You may also be interested in: ​Dani Carvajal Admits Concerns Over Bayern Munich Attacking Trio Ahead of Champions League Semi)

“It was just a different situation last year. I wasn’t fully fit, not at 100 percent, and trudged through it. We were unlucky to crash out,” he explained.


“It wasn’t Lewy [struggling with fitness]. We had many problems last year, especially in Madrid. We played with a team in which three, four players were at 50 percent. We still fought until the last minute. This year, we are all fit.”


Ex-Madrid & Bayern Star Looking Forward to UCL Clash But Says Los Blancos Will ‘Suffer’ at Allianz

Former Spain international Xabi Alonso says he’s looking forward to the Champions League semi final clash between his two former sides Real Madrid and Bayern Munich and will enjoy the matches regardless of who goes through.

The first leg of the tie comes this Wednesday at Bayern’s Allianz Arena, where Alonso reckons the holders will “suffer”. But he also says that a Madrid goal could make all the difference.


“I’m very excited to see them play from the other side of the barrier, and every time they meet, it’s one of the great European qualifiers,” the erstwhile midfielder told ​Marca. “The two games will be very exciting and I hope it’s two games.”

“The first leg is very important, despite the surprises that have happened in the quarterfinals, which is why football is so exciting, Bayern are very strong at Allianz and Madrid are going to have to suffer. But the home side will have to be careful with the blows of Madrid, which makes you a goal with half a chance.

Bayern Muenchen v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

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Alonso also played for Premier League outfit Liverpool before his move back to Spain. And with a mouthwatering tie against AS Roma coming up, he’s also looking forward to seeing the Reds show their stuff in Europe’s grandest competition.


“Here I have it much clearer, I am very much looking forward to being able to sneak into the final, deservedly also, very Klopp style,” he said. “Rome has a historic opportunity as well but I think the Anfield factor can be very important.”


Dani Carvajal Admits Concerns Over Bayern Munich Attacking Trio Ahead of Champions League Semi

Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal has insisted that dealing with the attacking trio of Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and Franck Ribery is the most difficult task he faces ahead of Los Blancos’ Champions League showdown with Bayern Munich. 

The two European superpowers lock horns in Munich on Wednesday evening at the Allianz Arena, where the holders will be eyeing their fourth final in five years. 

However, going into the contest, the 26-year-old revealed to ​Marca he is preparing for what he knows will be a ‘very difficult’ two-legged affair; considering the ruthlessness of the German’s front three. 

​​“Robben, Lewandowski and Ribéry are so difficult to stop,” he said. “They are three very difficult players and it is complicated to stop them scoring and, in the end, with any chance they can score.”

However, despite what will undoubtedly be one of the toughest tests of the season, Carvajal was thankful that he has had the opportunity to feature in the latter stages of the competition with such regularity since joining Real Madrid; with this being his fifth semi-final in succession. 

(You may also like: ​Arjen Robben Insists Real Madrid Can Be ‘Vulnerable’ As ‘Prepared’ Bayern Set Sights on UCL Revenge)

​​“I am lucky that every year I have been able to reach the semi-finals since I have been here,” the Spaniard stated. “Every year has a special feeling, and this year, considering the competition from our rivals, we are happy and looking forward to the match.”

Los Blancos will be hoping to overcome Bayern for a chance to secure their third consecutive Champions League title; something that has never been achieved before. And Carvajal is confident he and his team-mates can achieve such an immense feat. 


“Nothing is impossible, we are going to fight for it,” the right back added. “We are working, and if we have achieved two, why are we not going to go for that third? We are still hungry to win the Champions League, and we will keep our feet on the ground and face the semi-finals with great enthusiasm.”


Jupp Heynckes Denies Real Madrid Have Scheduling Advantage Ahead of Champions League Clash

Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes does not believe that Real Madrid’s prolonged respite ahead of their Champions League showdown this week offers the Spanish side any significant advantage. 

The Bundesliga champions warmed up for the visit of Los Blancos on Wednesday with a comfortable 3-0 win at Hannover this weekend, in which the likes of Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Robert Lewandowski – who appeared as a second-half substitute – and Franck Ribery were all afforded a break from the starting lineup. 

However, with Zinedine Zidane’s side scheduled to play Sevilla in this matchweek, and Los Rojiblancos otherwise engaged with the Copa del Rey final, the Spaniards have enjoyed much longer to prepare themselves for the semi-final. 

But Heynckes insisted to ​Goal that he was unsure as to whether the extra time would offer a significant advantage for Real Madrid, although reminded his players that their concentration levels are crucial if they are to overcome the 12-time winners. 

“You never know if it [Madrid’s extra preparation time] is something important”, the veteran coach eyeing his third European crown said.

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“The most important thing at the moment is the psychology,” Heynckes told reporters after Saturday’s game. It is key that everyone is already fixed on the Madrid game, that we only think and focus about that.

“The truth is that it was very important to win before playing the Champions League, it always is. We are used to playing every three days for a long time; the important thing is that the players want to play always and be prepared.


“It is vital that they want to be on the pitch to show me that they want to play.”


Premier League Elite on Alert as Real Madrid Lower Asking Price of Attacking Star to £60m

A host of top Premier League sides are believed to be considering making a summer move for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, after Los Blancos president Florentino Perez reportedly dropped the player’s asking price from £90m to £60m.

As reported by Spanish outlet Don Balón, the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd and Spurs are all believed to be interested in the Welsh sensation. Real Madrid – after an underwhelming season in La Liga – are believed to be planning a major overhaul of their squad this summer, and Bale could well sold in order to build a formidable transfer budget to sign new talents.


Man Utd are long term admirers of Bale, and would feel confident of beating their rivals to sign the 28-year-old. Meanwhile Chelsea could use Eden Hazard or Thibaut Courtois as a  bargaining chip in their pursuit, while Spurs offer the allure of a brand new stadium and a chance to return to the club where he made his name as a top quality player. Liverpool may also look to sign Bale, as they look to push on to challenge for the Premier League title next season. 

The former Southampton man has experienced mixed fortunes since moving to the Bernabéu in 2013. Despite scoring an impressive 81 league goals in 183 matches, Bale has persistently been targeted for abuse by the home supporters – with his individual performances often called into question when the team are struggling.

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Meanwhile,​ Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is moving closer to signing a lucrative new deal with the club, that would keep him extend his stay until 2021. 

The Portuguese legend is thought to be planning to sign a new deal before the World Cup this summer, and could see his earnings rise to a staggering €30m per year with additional bonuses on top of that.


Luka Modric Reveals How He Wants to Finish His Career & Doesn’t Rule Out Real Madrid Departure

Luka Modric says that he ‘can see [him]self’ finishing his career in the MLS – but would prefer to retire at current club ​Real Madrid.

The Croatian moved to Madrid from ​Tottenham in 2012 and has made over 250 appearances for Los Blancos, winning three Champions League titles along the way.

At the age of 32 he remains an integral part of the team, but with a major squad overhaul planned for this summer Modric may find himself fazed out over the next few years.

Real Madrid v Club Atletico de Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final

Asked about the prospect of a move to the MLS, Modric did not rule it out.

“You never know what can happen,” Modric said in an interview with Sweden’s ​SVT Sport (translated by ESPN). “I still have two more years on my contract with Real Madrid.

“I’m happy. I always said that I would like to finish my career in Madrid if it’s possible. But if not, maybe I can see myself also [in the U.S.].”

The MLS has become a haven for retiring players to end their careers, with David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all choosing to play their final matches there.

Eibar v Real Madrid - La Liga

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The latest high-profile player to move to North America is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede enjoyed an illustrious career in Europe and has started well for his new team LA Galaxy, scoring three goals in his first four games for them. Modric paid tribute to Ibrahimovic.

“He was such a big player in Europe the last 10-20 years, one of the the best strikers,” he said. “I would like him to stay a bit more in football to watch him, but I wish him all the best in future.”


Modric’s Madrid are chasing a third consecutive Champions League title, and they face ​Bayern Munich in the semi final first leg on Wednesday.


Real Madrid Plan to Offer Cristiano Ronaldo Improved Contract Ahead of Upcoming World Cup

Real Madrid are planning to give Cristiano Ronaldo an improved contract at the club before the World Cup.

Despite a poor start to the season, Ronaldo has managed to notch 24 goals in La Liga this season. The Portugal international is also the top goalscorer in the Champions League so far this season with an impressive 15 goals – seven goals ahead of second-placed Roberto Firmino.

General director Jose Angel Sanchez has informed Ronaldo that he will be getting an improved deal at the Bernabeu, according to Spanish outlet AS.


AS also report that Ronaldo could go from earning 21m-a-year to a possible €30m, plus €2m in add-ons. However, Los Blancos won’t extend Ronaldo’s contract past 2021.

The improved contract should be offered before the upcoming World Cup in Russia where Ronaldo will be playing for Euro 2016 champions Portugal. The 33-year-old’s first job in the competition will be helping Portugal qualify from their group which features Spain, Morocco and Iran.


A new contract has been in the works for a while, with the 33-year-old ​using ​former employers Manchester United as an intimidating factor in an attempt to secure a better deal at Madrid.

It was reported by th​e Sun last month that Ronaldo was demanding more money than rival Lionel Messi, who is earning €40m.


However, it looks like a new deal is close to being completed, ensuring Ronaldo will be staying at the Bernabeu for at least the next couple of seasons.