David Beckham has retained his place as the richest footballer in the British game, with an estimated fortune of £75m, according to a survey published yesterday. The England captain's wealth has increased £10m in the past year, according to the FourFourTwo Football Rich List, and his total wealth is now more than twice that of the second-placed Dennis Bergkamp.
Arsenal's Dutch international is estimated to be worth £37m, with Newcastle's Michael Owen in third place with £30m, and Manchester City's Robbie Fowler fourth, with £28m.
At first glance the figures appear to be more guesswork than fact. Bergkamp, Owen and Fowler occupied the same spots last year, with precisely the same fortunes. Many others in the list also appear to have earned nothing in the past 12 months and, according to the survey, also have unchanged bank balances. Aspokesman for FourFourTwo magazine acknowledged when last year's list was published: "Naturally, there is an element of estimation because people are reluctant to open their bank accounts for examination."
It is understood that the figures on the list, which is put together by the same people who compile the Sunday Times Rich List, change only when players sign publicly announced new deals or endorsements. This might explain why Ruud van Nistelrooy's wealth has apparently jumped £8m in a year from £12m to £20m. Wayne Rooney was not in last year's top 20 but features at No 20 this time, with £8m.
It is no surprise that Roman Abramovich tops the list of rich football investors. His fortune is estimated at £10bn. Chelsea's Jose Mourinho overtakes Alex Ferguson as the richest manager, with £20m. Ferguson's nest-egg has grown from £15m to £18m in a year, the survey says.
In the money
1 D Beckham (Real) £75m
2 D Bergkamp (Arsenal) £37m
3 M Owen (Newcastle) £30m
4 R Fowler (Man City) £28m
5 S Campbell (Arsenal) £26m
6 Roy Keane (Unattach) £25m
7 A Shearer (Newcastle) £22m
8= R Ferdinand (Man U) £20m
8= R Giggs (Man Utd) £20m
8= R van Nistelrooy (Man Utd)£20m