David Beckham still makes more money than everybody else

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Blame it on astronomical French taxes or call it David Beckham’s altruism, but the world’s most recognizable soccer player is taking a relative pittance in wages at Paris Saint-Germain. Regardless, the former LA Galaxy icon is still the top earning player in world soccer.

France Football released their annual list yesterday, and despite only five percent of his income being brought in through wages, Beckham will made €36 million this season. That’s about $46.6 million, or about $1.4 million more than Lionel Messi, whose salary makes up just over one-third of his income.

That’s worth a little consideration. Lionel Messi is the best player of most of our lifetimes. He’s in his prime, seems to improve year-on-year, and is playing for one of the three or four more marketable clubs in the world. He embodies almost every single thing you’d want in an athlete, yet Brand Beckham, carefully cultivated over almost two decades, can still out-earn Messi long after the player has left his prime.

Messi can break scoring records, win trophy after trophy, and threaten to claim best player ever status before his 26th birthday, but as long as David Beckham keep playing, the number one spot on France Football’s annual list may be off limits.

Here’s the entire top 10.

1. David Beckham, Paris Saint Germain (France) – $46.6 million

2. Lionel Messi, Barcelona (Spain) – $45.2 million

3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid (Spain) – $38.7 million

4. Samuel Eto’o, Anzhi Makhachkala (Russia) – $31 million

5. Neymar, Santos (Brazil) – $25.8 million

6. Sergio Agüero, Manchester City (England) – $24.5 million

7. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United (England) – $23.2 million

8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain (France) – $22.6 million

9. Yaya Touré, Manchester City (England) – $21.4 million

10. Fernando Torres, Chelsea (England) – $21.0 million

Bundesliga wrap: Bayern wins it late, Leverkusen goes second

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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It looked like Bayern Munich was on pace to drop points for just the fifth time this season, but then the club’s star striker stepped up in the biggest of moments.

[ MORE: TFC on the brink of adding Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ager Aketxe ]

The German leaders came back to pick up a 2-1 victory on the road at Wolfsburg after Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty kick in stoppage time.

Sandro Wagner’s second-half header had pulled the match level off of an Arjen Robben cross in the 64th minute. Robben atoned for an earlier penalty-kick miss, which would have tied the match ten minutes prior.

Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke were each big winners on the day, with the two clubs moving into the top four.

Leverkusen’s 2-1 win on the road against Hertha Berlin saw Heiko Herrlich and his side move up to second place in the Bundesliga, albeit a lengthy distance behind leaders Bayern.

Schalke took care of business at home against Hoffenheim, bringing the Miners one step closer to the top four. The side is now level on 37 points with Borussia Dortmund for fourth, but the Christian Pulisic and Co. currently boast a superior goal differential.

Below are all of Saturday’s scores from around Germany’s top flight.

Cologne 1-1 Hannover 96
Hertha Berlin 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Freiburg 1-0 Werder Bremen
Wolfsburg 1-1 Bayern Munich
Schalke 2-0 Hoffenheim

Rodchenkov to AP: Russian footballers immune from drug bans

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Russian doping whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov claims he helped soccer players in the country to avoid being caught doping after he followed government orders to ensure cheating was covered up.

[ MORE: Mourinho denies Pogba exit rumors ]

The former Russian anti-doping laboratory director told The Associated Press in response to questions through his lawyer that an instruction to avoid scandal came from Vitaly Mutko. Mutko is the former Russian sports minister who serves as deputy prime minster despite being at the center of the doping deception controversy exposed by Rodchenkov.

The focus is sharpening on doping practices in Russian soccer with the World Cup kicking off in Moscow in four months.

Rodchenkov says “Russian footballers were immune from doping-control actions or sanctions.”

Rodchenkov claimed Mutko said “avoid any scandal by hiding positive results” and that “doping would be handled internally”.

Video: Rondon’s exquisite volley not enough to save West Brom

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Salomon Rondon’s second-half volley was not only a beauty, but one of tremendous difficulty.

Unfortunately for he and his West Bromwich Albion side, though, it wasn’t enough for the Baggies to survive in this season’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Southampton.

[ MORE: Brilliant Messi through ball sends Suarez in for Barcelona opener ]

The Saints progressed to the quarterfinals on Saturday behind goals from Wesley Hoedt and Dusan Tadic, and join fellow Premier League sides Chelsea, Brighton & Hove and Leicester City in the final eight.

Tadic’s goal came in the 56th minute, doubling the Southampton lead, but Rondon’s quality volley two minutes later provided West Brom with a temporary moment of relief (below).

Video: Brilliant Messi through ball sends Suarez in on goal

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With a blockbuster UEFA Champions League clash against Chelsea right around the corner for Barcelona, the Spanish league leaders look on pace to extend their perfect La Liga record.

[ MORE: Willian dazzles for Chelsea in FA Cup win over Hull ]

Despite rumors that Lionel Messi and some of Barcelona’s biggest stars would be rested ahead of Tuesday’s match against the London side, the Argentine superstar not only started at Eibar on Saturday, but made a brilliant impact in the 17th minute.

Messi linked up with Luis Suarez after playing the Uruguayan through towards goal from a tremendous defense-splitting pass that sent the striker in for the 1-0 lead.

Barcelona has yet to lose in domestic competition this season, boasting an 18-5-0 record heading into Saturday’s meeting with Eibar. Additionally, Messi and Co. currently hold a plus-49 goal differential, which was lifted to plus-50 with Suarez’s finish.

The Blaugrana are the last team in Europe’s five major leagues to remain unbeaten in league play.