Neymar leapfrogs Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo in top 10 list of best paid footballers

Brendon Netto 4/08/2017

In what has been described as the ‘transfer of the century’, Neymar has signed a five-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain after his €222 million release clause at Barcelona was triggered.

The Brazilian won the Champions League and two La Liga titles with the Camp Nou outfit and will reportedly earn €30m net per year at PSG, or close to €600,000 each week after tax.

However, that still doesn’t make him the best paid footballer in the world.

Despite having Carlos Tevez hold that title as a Shanghai Shenua player, raking in €38 million a year, Neymar can revel in the fact that he now earns more than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

At a press conference on Friday, the 25-year-old stressed his desire to help PSG achieve their dream of European glory.

“I wanted a new challenge. This was about ambition. My heart told me that it was time to sign for Paris Saint-Germain. It was the right time to leave Barcelona and find new challenges.

“I was never motivated by money. I thought above all else about of the happiness of my family, regardless of money. I regret that some people think this is the case.”

Check out the top 10 best paid players in world football in our gallery above.

*Figures according to Presse Sports

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MLS commissioner Don Garber is missing a big trick in developing the league

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Paulo Maldini (c) is co-owner of Miami FC with Riccardo Silva, whose TV deal was rejected.

Riccardo Silva is a clever man. The Italian, who made his millions selling TV rights, likes rustling a few feathers.

Ever since he teamed up with old friend Paolo Maldini to take charge of Miami FC, who play in the second tier of US soccer, Silva has attempted to break the stranglehold of MLS and force commissioner Don Garber to think outside of the box.

When his side in South Florida began three years ago, he told me about his vision for the club, how the open structure in NASL and assimilation with the rest of the soccer world would eventually make it a far more attractive proposition for owners.

MLS has a different transfer window, salary caps and restricted designated player spots. In truth, NASL has struggled financially with clubs folding and others finding it tough to attract decent crowds.

Yet his bugbear has been something Garber and the cosy club of franchise owners will never agree to: promotion and relegation. The single entity structure of MLS means everyone gets a piece of the pie.

All kits are made by adidas. All sponsorship and TV revenues are shared. Everyone is happy while allowing underperforming teams to sleepwalk through seasons knowing the cash will keep coming.

Franchise costs have now increased to $150 million with cities queuing up to join the party. That, though, won’t last forever.

Riccardo Silva

Riccardo Silva.

MLS have 24 teams next season following the introduction of a new LA side. One the limit – around 28 franchises – is hit, MLS will lose their most lucrative income stream in the shape of franchise fees.

Enter MP & Silva media group with a $4 billion offer to take control of the TV and media rights ($400m a year over 10 years) and introduce a pyramid system akin to England which would see movement up and down the divisions.

“I believe that MLS would be the major beneficiaries of an open, meritocratic system because it would stimulate greater fan interest, excitement, quality and engagement in the domestic game,” Silva wrote.

With the current TV deal not expiring until 2022 and with an option for the likes of ESPN and Fox to renew, the offer was, at best, theoretical. Naturally, MLS declined. That was always going to happen.

Too many millions have been invested into MLS for the owners to want to risk losing large chunks by dropping out of a top flight. They’ve always negotiated their own media rights, too.

Yet the timing from Silva, who has been a constant critic of the MLS structure, was brilliant. For the past two weeks, the now annual International Champions Cup tournament has been taking place in the United States with thousands of fans clamouring to see the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City.

I was at El Clasico in Miami on Saturday night and despite only being a friendly, the build up, the match itself, the atmosphere and the excitement generated was quite something.

Barcelona fans prepare for Clasico.

Barcelona fans prepare for Clasico.

Even Spurs v Roma in New York earlier in the week was played in front of a rarity at Red Bull Arena – a full house. The overly paranoid MLS fans have been predictably grumbling about the best players in the world from some of the biggest teams stealing their thunder.

Yet 65,000 fans paying upwards of $500 is emphatic proof, if needed, that soccer sells in the US. How MLS would love such exposure.

Seattle Sounders owner Merritt Paulson called for these kind of matches to be banned. Nonsense. They are meaningless yet meaningful. Soccer in the US needs all the help it can get and that’s why Silva’s proposal was so interesting.

MLS TV figures and attendances remain average but their teams relevance in their respective markets is minimal, especially in major media markets like Los Angeles and New York.

Garber’s hopes of his baby growing up into a elite world league remain fanciful. So why not shake it up? Do something different which would tap into the fervent soccer scene operating below the NASL and MLS.

There are new clubs sprouting up and the dream of working their way up to the top would generate interest in a sports scene where promotion and relegation are dirty words. It would be a fresh, brave, bold move. And one which sadly will never happen.

MLB

Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge.

Aaron Judge will think twice the next time he celebrates with the bench after smacking a homer.

The Yankees slugger has been a smash hit but last week he took a hit himself – and lost half a tooth in the process.

Amid all the excitement of bashing another his 33th home run of the season in the 6-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, he went crazy with his pals and smashed his mouth into Brett Gardner’s helmet. Judge was okay.

His front tooth however, wasn’t. A trip to the dentist followed and within the flash, or smash, of an eye, he was back at home plate doing what he does best.

“He got me pretty good,” said the gap toothed 6-foot-7 powerhouse. “Obviously we’re very relieved,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I’m sure it was a somewhat of an uncomfortable night for him last night.”

The agony however goes on. “I’m sure the ribbing will continue for a number of days. This will not stop after today, “ added Girardi with a smile, his own teeth fully intact.

NFL

The New York Jets are usually in the news for being absolutely hopeless. But they’ve created their own slice of history this summer by handing a coaching role to Collette Smith – the first woman to ever be involved with the Jets playing staff.

The 44-year-old has bagged an internship for the summer, helping out Dennard Wilson with the defence.

She becomes the third female to land a coaching spot in the NFL – Jen Welter did a similar summer stint with the Cardinals in 2015 while last year, Kathryn Smith was a quality-control coach for the whole season with the Buffalo Bills.

She will have her work cut out but no matter – Smith is living the dream. Growing up in Queens, she was a fully-paid member of the Gang Green and spent three years playing for the New York Sharks.

A knee injury ended her career but Smith has a keen eye for the game after watching the players being put through their paces.

It’s unclear if the contract will extend past the start of this season but it’s yet another good move by the NFL who need to show some positive, forward thinking ideas as the concussion scandal continues to shame the sport.

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Miami gripped by football fever as Real Madrid and Barcelona bring El Clasico to town

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The new La Liga season is still weeks away, but try telling Miami that Saturday night’s El Clasico at a sold-out Hard Rock Stadium is meaningless.

For the first time in over 35 years, Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet on foreign soil. It’s also the first encounter between the two sides in the United States.

Back in 1982, the match staged post-season in Venezuela, coming just before that year’s World Cup, was so nondescript it wasn’t even shown on television in Europe.

Fast forward to 2017, however, and this encounter has morphed into a huge global event which has gripped a soccer-mad city and ensured the now annual International Champions Cup exhibition tournament will remain a permanent fixture on the sporting calendar for years to come.

TV network ESPN have transplanted a crew of 25 reporters and presenters to South Florida to help produce wall-to-wall coverage.

Their daily Sports Center news show will be on-site in Miami and, at a time of the year where the NFL, NBA and NHL are in hibernation, the timing couldn’t have been better.

The game has long since sold out. Tickets on the black market are now costing upwards of €770 each although only 30% were bought by fans in the South Florida region, with the remainder being snapped up by the rest of the United States as well as people in 50 countries.

Football supporters from Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and Honduras will all descend on the recently renovated home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins while the city itself is basking in the glow of a fun filled festival of soccer.

A legends game at the ‘Casa Clasico’ event at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami on Friday sees legends such as Patrick Kluivert, Fernando Hierro and Carlos Puyol among others all dust down their boots once again and recreate the magic moments of yesteryear.

Live music and DJs will keep fans entertained and on Saturday watch parties on huge TV screens are planned for those unlucky enough to miss out on a ticket as well as allowing the casual fan to get a unique taste of what this match actually means.

Travel companies have also been offering special ‘El Clasico packages’ with prices, including stadium tickets and hotel stays in luxurious South Beach properties, starting from €640 per night.

Naturally, both sides are in the middle of pre-season preparations and have been travelling across the United States for the past two weeks along with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus and Tottenham Hotspur.

Yet such a mouthwatering rivalry ensures that whenever Real and Barca meet, interest abounds. The build up has, invariably, been centered around incredibly priced incomings — and possible departures — both at the Camp Nou and the Bernabeu.

NEYMAR ADDS INTRIGUE

Neymar, Barca’s Brazilian superstar, has been consistently linked with a record breaking move to French giants Paris St Germain, who have also been in America, while Real are believed to be closing in on Monaco’s young star Kylian Mbappe for a fee which could eclipse €180 million.

Furthermore, while Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is still basking in the glory of winning the La Liga and Champions League double, new Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde’s reign has yet to begin in earnest.

Having to contend with the Neymar situation and everything surrounding it wasn’t what the former Barcelona forward would have hoped for so early into his tenure.

Meaningless? Perhaps. Yet Hugo Sanchez, the legendary Mexican striker who scored an astonishing 208 goals in 283 games for Los Blancos during a glorious spell which stretched from 1985 to 1992, knows exactly what it means when these two giants of the game collide.

“It’s the most important game in Spain but given the technological advances we have in the world, it should be known as El global Clasico,” said Sanchez. “For those lucky enough to be at the match, they will have an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Provided by AFP

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