FIFA World Cup: How Are World's Highest Earning Players Measuring Up?
It's the World Cup, it's the biggest stage of them all, it's where the crème de la crème battle it out in front of a worldwide television audience approaching a billion people for the sporting world's greatest prize, the Jules Rimet Trophy.
It's where the best of the best battle it out, like gladiators, to prove they truly are the greatest names ever to grace a soccer pitch!
Or at least that's meant to be the way it goes, but do the world's highest-earning players really deliver value for money on the greatest stage of them all?
Well, here's a look at who they are, and what they've achieved so far at the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
Rolling in at No. 10 in footballing's rich list is Samuel Eto’o of Cameroon, who earns around $20.27 million a year.
Not bad money if you can get it!
So far he's turned out 101 times for his national side, netting an impressive 46 goals.
On June 19, 2010, Eto'o scored his only goal of the tournament, in Cameroon's 2010 World Cup group stage match against Denmark.
Cameroon eventually lost the game 2-1 and was eliminated from the World Cup.
Eto'o described it as the biggest disappointment of his career.
At No. 9, we find Frank Lampard of Chelsea and England, who earns a sweet $20.92 million a year.
Lampard has so far turned out 80 times for his country, scoring 20 goals in the process.
So far at this World Cup...well, there are those who question if he's actually been there.
He has played in both of England's games so far, but it's widely considered that he hasn't contributed much.
At No. 8, we find Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the enigmatic Swedish striker, who earns a mouth-watering $21.25 million a year.
Ibrahimovic has so far played 60 times for Sweden, netting 22 goals in the process.
As for his performances at this World Cup?
Well Sweden didn't qualify, so his contribution is on a par with Frank Lampard's.
At No. 7, we find Carlos Tevez, the Argentine striker, who earns an impressive $22.55 million a year.
Tevez has played a total of 54 times for Argentina, scoring nine times in the process.
So far at this World Cup, he's started two games, finished one, and scored no goals.
At No. 6, we find the Brazilian Ronaldinho, who has played 87 times for his country, scoring 32 times, and who earns a cool $25.33 million a year.
Ronaldinho was not named in Coach Dunga's final squad of 23 for the Brazilian squad in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.
At No. 5, we find the Frenchman Thierry Henry, who earns an annual $26.48 million.
Henry has represented his country an impressive 126 times, scoring 53 goals in the process.
Henry did not feature once in the starting lineup for his country at this year's World Cup, only appearing as a substitute, and failing to add his name to the score sheet before France's dismal elimination from the tournament.
At No. 4, we find a second Brazilian, Kaká, who earns a near astronomical $27.62 million a year; not bad money for running around on a field!
Kaká has turned out 72 times for his country, scoring 27 goals in the process.
So far at this World Cup, Kaká has played 78 minutes in Brazil's opening game against North Korea, and lasted 88 minutes in the second game, before he was sent off under controversial circumstances.
He is yet to find the net in the tournament.
At No. 3, we find the Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo, who earns a mind-boggling $44.13 millon a year.
Ronaldo has so far played for Portugal on 74 occasions, scoring 23 goals in the process.
As of present, in the 2010 World Cup, aside from one long-range effort, Ronaldo was remarkably quiet in the opening game of Portugal's campaign.
He did score one goal and provide one assist in their second game, a 7-0 thrashing of North Korea.
Who said there were no easy games left in football?
Oh, that's right, everyone whose team has just failed to thrash some really weak opposition.
At No. 2 on the list of highest-earning football players, we find our second England international, David Beckham, who earns a rather impressive $44.63 million a year, especially for a 35-year-old.
Beckham has represented his country a record-breaking 115 times, scoring 17 goals in the process.
Because of an injury, Beckham was forced to miss the World Cup as a player.
However, it was announced that he would work as a mediator between management and the players and as an English member of the coaching staff for the England national football team at the tournament.
I wonder if he's been the one mediating between John Terry and Fabio Capello?
How's that working out for you, David?
Finally, at No. 1, we find the Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, who tops the earnings charts with a rather healthy $48.55 million a year.
Messi has turned out for his country 47 times, scoring 13 times along the way.
Messi played in all three of Argentina's group matches, participating in a number of their goals, although he is yet to score himself in the tournament.