Last year, David Beckham made bigger bucks stripping to his skivvies than he did winning on the pitch. Lucrative endorsement deals, like his infamous underwear ad for H&M, made up nearly 90 percent of his 2012 haul. But good play still means good pay. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, four-time world player of the year, recently signed soccer’s richest contract. His salary, coupled with a coveted Adidas deal, could soon make him the top scorer off the field, too.
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(This story appears in the 31 May, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)