Survey: Ronaldo, Messi, Ibrahimovic among top five highest paid athletes in the world

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are three of the world’s five highest paid athletes, according to a survey from ESPN The Magazine and SportingIntelligence, with boxer Floyd Mayweather and Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers claiming the other spots at the top of the annual list. With Wayne Rooney slotting in at 15th, four soccer players claim spots in the survey’s top 25, a ranking dominated by Major League Baseball and National Football League players.

Two Formula One drivers (Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton) and boxer Wladimir Klitschko join Mayweather ($73.5 million), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant ($30.5 million), and the four soccer stars among the highest earners from football and baseball. Led by Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Zach Grienke ($28 million per year), nine Major League Baseball players make the list, while the $40 million Aaron Rodgers made in 2013 leads the NFL’s eight representatives in the magazine’s ranking.

According to the survey:

“Average Annual Pay” is calculated from base player salaries from current or most recently completed seasons from each sport. All totals exclude endorsements, performance bonuses, appearance fees and any other source of extra compensation.

There are a few caveats for those looking to draw too many conclusions from the list. For NFL players, the huge signing bonuses teams use to deal with the salary cap can skew an individual number. Aaron Rodgers’ actual annual salary is $22 million, but a $35 million signing bonus elevates his 2013 salary. In basketball, Kobe Bryant’s longevity and salaries under previous collective bargaining agreements mean he’s the only player that can break this list. Earnings for boxers only include base prize money and none of the earnings from pay-per-view sales, while the various tax considerations help obscure what soccer players make. In a sport where salary information is already difficult to verify, some players’ salaries (Ibrahimovic) is after tax; others’ are not.

Still, the task of collecting this information is a monumental one – an effort that stretched across 14 different professional leagues. The full results can be seen here and here, with soccer’s contributions to the product listed below:

HIGHEST PAID, ANNUAL SALARY
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid – $50.2 million
3. Lionel Messi, Barcelona – $50.1 million
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paris Saint-Germain – $35 million
15. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United – $26 million

HIGHEST PAYROLL, AVERAGE ANNUAL SALARY (TOTAL ANNUAL SALARY)
1. Manchester City, England – $8,109,912 ($202,747,812)
4. Real Madrid, Spain – $7,586,438 ($189,660,944)
5. Barcelona, Spain – $7,446,562 ($193,610,600)
7. Bayern Munich, Germany – $6,689,311 ($173,922,091)
8. Manchester United, England – $6,566,775 ($164,169,367)
10. Chelsea, England – $6,053,686 ($151,342,140)
11. Arsenal, England – $5,928,172 ($148,204,312)
18. Juventus, Italy – $5,336,821 ($149,431,100)
20. Liverpool, England – $5,171,351 ($129,283,779)
25. Roma, Italy – $4,937,720 ($123,443,000)

 

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

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The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

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The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

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Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

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On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.