Portuguese journal Futebol Finance published the list of world’s highest-paid footballers. Brazilian football star Kaka of Italy’s A.C. Milan tops the list with nine million euros of income a year. Kaka comes 500,000 euros ahead of his country-fellow from Barcelona – Ronaldinho. Frank Lampard of Chelsea comes third with 8.16 million euros of profit a year.
The list made by the Portuguese journal does not take account of footballers’ advertising contracts, which constitute the lion’s share of most famous football stars. For example, Ronaldinho earned 24 million euros last year, of which 15 million were made with the help of advertising.
The list of richest footballers does not contain any Russian players, although Ukraine’s Andrey Shevchenmko, known as Sheva, takes the sixth position with 7.8 million euros. Sheva plays in one of the most respectable clubs in the world – Chelsea. Roman Abramovich’s team contributed eight richest players to the above-mentioned list. Four of them made it to the top ten.
Another football star, David Beckham, took the humble 44th position with “only” 4.5 million euros a year.
Russia’s richest football player, Andrey Arshavin, makes 3 million euros a year. He currently plays for FC Zenit, St.Petersburg.
Kaka began his club career with São Paulo at the age of eight. He signed a contract at 15 and led the SPFC youth squad to Copa de Juvenil glory. Kaka made his senior side debut in January 2001 and scored 12 goals in 27 appearances, in addition to leading São Paulo to its first and only Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo championship. He scored 10 in 22 matches the following season, and by this time his performance was soon attracting attention from European clubs.
AC Milan, fresh from winning the 2003 Champions League, brought him aboard in 2003 for $8.5 million, a fee described in hindsight as "peanuts" by club owner Silvio Berlusconi. Within a month, he cracked the starting lineup, and has remained there since. His Serie A debut was in a 2–0 Milan win at A.C. Ancona. He scored 10 goals in 30 appearances that season, as Milan won the Scudetto and the European Super Cup.
Kaka was a part of the five-man midfield in the 2004–05 season, usually playing in a withdrawn role behind striker Andrey Shevchenko. He scored 7 goals in 36 domestic appearances as Milan finished runner-up to Juventus. Despite Milan losing the 2004–05 Champions League final to Liverpool F.C. on penalties, he was nonetheless voted the best midfielder of the tournament, and also finished ninth, with 19 votes, in the running for the 2005 Ballon D'Or.