Graziano Pelle and the Other 9 Highest Paid Footballers in the World

​Graziano Pelle’s move from the Premier League to China’s Super League is set to net the striker an absolute fortune.

The 30-year-old will rake in a whopping £260,000-a-week at Chinese outfit Shandong Luneng, with the weekly wage packet rocketing the Italy international into the top 10 best paid footballers in the world.

So who does Pelle join as one of the world’s highest-paid footballing stars? Here’s the official top 10.

10. Thiago Silva – Paris-Saint Germain: £9.5m-a-Year

Chelsea FC v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League

​The first of three Brazilian internationals to make the list, PSG captain Thiago Silva keeps his place in the top 10 at the expense of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.

The centre-half, who has resided in France for four seasons, has won 12 trophies with the Ligue 1 champions during his time in Paris.

The 31-year-old also happens to rake in a handsome sum, with his weekly wage currently standing at £182,000.

9. Jackson Martinez – Guangzhou: £10m-a-Year

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Former Atletico Madrid attacker ​Jackson Martinez rebuffed advances from Chelsea and Liverpool to join Guangzhou Evergrande for £36m in February 2016.

And while the Colombian striker may not be playing on one of the world’s biggest footballing stages, his £192,000-a-week contract probably keeps him warm enough at night.

Martinez has bagged three goals and two assists in 10 games so far for Guangzhou.

8. Ezequiel Lavezzi – Hebai China Fortune: £10.5m a-Year

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Like Martinez, Argentina forward Ezequiel Lavezzi could have opted to depart former club PSG for England’s shores and join a Premier League side.

Instead, the allure of China’s preposterous weekly wages was too good an opportunity to turn down, and the 31-year-old headed to the Far East for a mere £4.7m transfer fee.

Lavezzi is, however, yet to find the net for his new club, despite earning £200,000-a-week from Hebai.

7. Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich: £11.5m a-Year

Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Dortmund - DFB Cup Final 2016

​The only Bundesliga star to make this list, Thomas Muller is one of two players here who has only turned out for one club throughout his career.

The 26-year-old forward is contracted to Bayern until the summer of 2021, and has resisted the urge to depart the club where he has amassed 14 trophies.

It’s hard to see why when he earns over £220,000-a-week with them.

6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Manchester United: £13m-a-Year

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​The second star to have left PSG in recent months, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival at Manchester United certainly set tongues wagging among the Old Trafford faithful.

And despite entering the twilight of his career (he is 34-years-old, after all), the former Sweden international can still command a decent wedge of cash.

The self-confessed ‘living legend’ will pocket £250,000-a-week. Not bad for someone in the final throes of their playing career.

5. Graziano Pelle – Shandong Luneng: £12.5m-a-Year

Italy v Spain - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

​Graziano Pelle’s £13m move from Southampton to Shandong may seem low in terms of transfer fee, but the Italian won’t care a jot thanks to his ridiculous wage packet.

The 31-year-old striker, who recently featured at Euro 2016 with his national side, will command £260,000-a-week.

If that wasn’t mindboggling enough, Pelle is now the best paid Italian footballer of all time. Crazy, eh?

4. Neymar – Barcelona: £15m-a-Year

Barcelona v Sevilla - Copa del Rey Final

​Barcelona’s Neymar has been courted by a host of the world’s biggest clubs during the 2016 summer transfer window.

And whilst he may have a modest contract release clause of £85m, the Brazil superstar’s wages may prove to be the biggest sticking point for any would-be admirer.

The 24-year-old earns just shy of £290,000-a-week as part of Barca’s talented trio of strikers.

He probably deserves it for his club form alone, though.

3. Hulk – Shanghai SIPG: £16.5m-a-Year

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​Hulk was one of the first big names to join the Chinese footballing revolution, departing Zenit St Petersburg for a colossal £47m on July 1.

If that didn’t prove that money was no object for Shanghai – currently managed by Sven Goran Eriksson – then Hulk’s salary would certainly do that.

The 29-year-old striker earns a staggering £317,000-a-week in China’s most populous city.

I don’t know about you, but he could retire on that sum after one season!

2. Lionel Messi – Barcelona: £17m-a-Year

FC Barcelona v Sporting Gijon - La Liga

Perhaps surprisingly, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi doesn’t top the list of the highest paid footballers in the world.

​The diminutive world-famous star has won 29 trophies during his club career, is Barcelona’s all-time record goalscorer and, like Muller, has only played for one club.

The 29-year-old is rewarded for his talents and effort with a wage of £330,000-a-week, which is perhaps just recompense for what he’s achieved with the La Liga giants.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid: £18m-a-Year

Portugal v France - Final: UEFA Euro 2016

If it wasn’t Messi topping this list, it had to be football’s other world-famous star who did.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s astronomical £345,000-a-week wage packet sees him come out on top as the highest-paid footballer in the world.

Portugal’s captain even went one better than Messi by winning a title on the international stage last week – lifting the Euro 2016 trophy after his national side’s 1-0 triumph over France.

The 31-year-old striker just needs a World Cup to complete the set, and he can bow out of the game gracefully. Well, maybe not so gracefully…

The original version of this story which was published by 90min.com Serie A can be viewed here.

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