Gareth Bale won't be worrying about turning the heating on this winter after securing an eye-watering new contract with Real Madrid worth £346,000 (NZ$519,000) per week.

Yet the Welshman still does not top football's rich list despite putting pen to paper on a deal that will net him £108million (NZ$185m) over the next six years.

That honour remains held jointly by the inseparable superstars who have propelled the game - and its financial rewards - to dizzy new heights over the past decade, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The pair both take home a barely believable £365,000 per week (NZ$623,000) - that's £19m (NZ$32m) each and every year - AFTER tax.


$3.4k Gareth Bale's $185m, six-year deal means he will earn $3,509 an hour and $54 per minute.
2.4 His £108m is 2.4 times the total cost of Burnley's Premier League squad (£45.7m).
650k With his new deal Bale could afford to buy 650,602 Real Madrid season tickets - costing £166 each - enough to sell out the Bernabeu seven times over.
1.2m He could also buy 1.2m Real Madrid shirts complete with his name and number.
430 The deal is a 430 per cent pay rise on the £80,000 per week he earned at Tottenham.

Real Madrid and Barcelona pay their prized assets a net wage after the Spanish tax man has taken his share, meaning that the duo's lead over their rivals in the footballers' rich list is even bigger than it appears.

If the Real and Barca players' salaries are judged like their counterparts from the Premier League - i.e. before tax is paid on their wages - Bale's new contract would be worth a simply staggering amount.

Given the Spanish income tax rate applicable to the players is 45 per cent, that would put the figure Real are paying for Bale at £32.7m per year - or £629,000 per week. Using the same extrapolation, the clubs are each forking out £664,000 per week for Ronaldo and Messi - £34.5m per year.

Real remain insistent, however, that the gross figure on Bale's contract remains around £18m, although Sportsmail understands that the figure is far higher given the sum due to the tax man.

English football's highest earner is Paul Pogba, whose £89m summer return to Manchester United from Juventus sees him earn £290,000 per week and £15m per year.

United, despite struggling since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, have three men among the top 10 highest-paid footballers in the world, with Wayne Rooney (£260,000 per week, £13.5m per year) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£250,000 per week, £13m per year) both making fortunes from life at Old Trafford.

Their noisy neighbours at the Etihad Stadium boast two players in the top 10; Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure both pocket £240,000 per week. Given the latter has been frozen out by Pep Guardiola this season, he is effectively earning £12.5m per year for playing no football at all.

To put these gargantuan salaries into context, the average wage in the UK in 2016 is £27,500 per year, while Theresa May will earn £143,462 for leading the country over the next 12 months - that's around half of what Pogba earns in a week.

The only other league to make an impression on the best-paid players list is not Serie A or the Bundesliga, but the Chinese Super League.

Graziano Pelle won't be on too many people's minds when it comes to choosing the best players on the planet, but he is nevertheless among the most lucratively paid.

The Italy striker's summer transfer from Southampton to Shandong Luneng cost £13m - but he will earn more than that in his first year at the club thanks to his contract, worth a remarkable £260,000 per week.

Completing the top 10 is Hulk, the Brazil striker who also now plies his trade in China with Shanghai SIPG.

Despite never playing in one of the world's major leagues, the muscular 30-year-old is the world's fourth-best paid footballer on a £317,000-per-week contract. That's £16.5m per year for a man whose international scoring record of 12 in 48 games is barely more impressive than Emile Heskey's.

Highest paid players in football

1= Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) £365,000 per week £19m per year*
1= Lionel Messi (Barcelona) £365,000 per week £19m per year*
3 Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) £346,000 per week £18m per year*
4 Hulk (Shanghai SIPG) £317,000 per week £16.5m per year
5 Paul Pogba (Manchester United) £290,000 per week £15m per year
6 Neymar (Barcelona) £289,000 per week £15m per year*
7= Graziano Pelle (Shandong Luneng) £260,000 per week £13.5m per year
7= Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) £260,000 per week £13.5m per year
9 Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) £250,000 per week £13m per year
10= Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) £240,000 per week £12.5m per year
10= Yaya Toure (Manchester City) £240,000 per week £12.5m per year
All estimated figures are pre-tax, except * where figures are post-tax. Sums may vary according to bonus payments.