Lionel Messi is worth €87 million more than Cristiano Ronaldo , according to research within the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES) in Switzerland.
The 27-year-old attacker has won four Ballons d’Or in his career so far and skippered Argentina to the World Cup final last year, winning the Golden Ball award for being the best player in the process.
Like Ronaldo with Real Madrid, Messi has a contract with Barcelona until June 2018, although reports have been circulating in recent weeks that he might swap Camp Nou for Chelsea due to discontent in Catalunya.
But Chelsea will know Messi will not be cheap: the Football Observatory, a research group within CIES, suggest Messi currently has a valuation of €220m.
Ronaldo is next in the list, valued at €133m, while world-record signing Gareth Bale sits in 10th with an estimated net worth of €60m to the Santiago Bernabeu club.
Chelsea have three players in the top 10: Eden Hazard is rated at €99m in third spot just ahead of fourth-placed Diego Costa (€84m) and fellow summer signing Cesc Fabregas in eighth (€62m).
Juventus bagged Paul Pogba for free in 2012, now he’s valued at €72m – fifth in CIES’ ranking as of January 2015 – while the other three spots in the top 10 are filled by Premier League players: Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero at €65m in sixth, Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling at €63m in seventh and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
Notable absentees from the top 10 include Neymar (11th at €58m), Bayern Munich’s highest-valued star Mario Gotze (13th at €52m) and 2014’s most expensive player Luis Suarez (16th at €48m).
European champions Real Madrid have the most players on the list with eight other stars in addition to Ronaldo and Bale in the top 120: James Rodriguez in 15th, Isco in 17th, Karim Benzema in 21st, Toni Kroos in 23rd, Luka Modric in 27th, Sergio Ramos in 40th, Dani Carvajal in 68th, Raphael Varane in 87th and Marcelo in 94th.
The oldest player in CIES’ 2015 valuation tally is 31-year-old Franck Ribery, tied for 106th at €20m, while Manchester United’s teenage left-back Luke Shaw is valued at €26m along with Mario Balotelli and Gerard Pique in 65th.
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