London – Footballers with English Premier League club Manchester City are the most highly-paid athletes in global sport, according to a study published on Wednesday.
The study, carried out by Britain’s Sporting Intelligence website, found that the average annual salary of a first-team player at City was £5.3 million (R94 million).
City top the list ahead of Major League Baseball teams the New York Yankees and the LA Dodgers, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Chelsea also featuring in the top 10.
NBA teams the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls complete the line-up.
City's lavish spending on players has not been without complications, however.
Reports in the British media suggest that City are due to face punishment for contravening European governing body Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules, which oblige clubs not to spend beyond their means.
Top 10 best-paid players in world sport (average annual salary in £ sterling):
1. Manchester City (Premier League) £5.337 million
2. New York Yankees (Major League Baseball) £5.286 million
3. LA Dodgers (Major League Baseball) £5.119 million
4. Real Madrid (La Liga) £4.993 million
5. Barcelona (La Liga) £4.901 million
6. Brooklyn Nets (NBA) £4.485 million
7. Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) £4.402 million
8. Manchester United (Premier League) £4.322 million
9. Chicago Bulls (NBA) £3.985 million
10. Chelsea (Premier League) £3.984 million – Sapa-AFP