Bergkamp nets winner in rich league

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The Independent Football

Football fans will not be surprised to see David Beckham's name heading a list of the country's richest players but the identity of his closest rival is sure to raise a few eyebrows today.

Football fans will not be surprised to see David Beckham's name heading a list of the country's richest players but the identity of his closest rival is sure to raise a few eyebrows today. For while the England captain is streets ahead in the wealth stakes, with an estimated £65m in the bank, the next richest player is neither a hot young talent, like Wayne Rooney, nor any of the recent big-name signings at moneybags Chelsea. Step forward instead, the unlikely figure of Dennis Bergkamp.

According to the FourFourTwo Football Rich List, published today, Arsenal's Dutch striker has amassed a personal fortune of £37m, earned from a career of lucrative transfers, shrewd investments and tax-free image rights.

The third richest player is Michael Owen, with £30m, followed by a second surprise entry in the upper echelons, another former Liverpool striker, Robbie Fowler, with £28m.

A startling dip in proficiency in recent seasons has evidently not affected Fowler's bank balance, with his wealth thought to include substantial property assets acquired during his heyday at Anfield and during his big-money spell at Leeds.

The remainder of the top 10 provides few surprises, comprising a mix of long-serving internationals at big clubs (such as Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs) and younger, highly-marketable bucks at big clubs (such as Rio Ferdinand and Thierry Henry). Henry, at No10, is estimated to be worth £18m, or three times as much as his Arsenal team-mate, Freddie Ljungberg, whose £6m makes him the 17th richest player.

Rooney does not figure anywhere in the list, which was compiled by the same authors as the Sunday Times Rich List. A FourFourTwo spokesman said: "The list was compiled using established methods of calculating business values and individual wealth but, naturally, there is an element of estimation because people are reluctant to open their bank accounts for examination."

Though Beckham is the richest player, he is only No41 in the overall list, which is dominated by business figures who have made their money outside the game. Unsurprisingly, Roman Abramovich is No1, with £7.5bn, followed by Jo Lewis, an investor in Tottenham and Rangers, with £1.8bn, and Celtic's Dermot Desmond, with £850m.

Only two managers make the top 100, led by Sir Alex Ferguson, with a fortune of £15m, in 92nd place, and England's Sven Goran Eriksson, with £10m, at No100. Kevin Keegan is estimated to be worth £7m, the same as Arsène Wenger.

Rich list: football's money men

Players

1 David Beckham Real Madrid, £65m

2 Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal, £37m

3 Michael Owen Real Madrid, £30m

4 Robbie Fowler Man City, £28m

5 Alan Shearer Newcastle, £22m

6 Sol Campbell Arsenal, £20m

6 Rio Ferdinand Man United, £20m

6 Ryan Giggs Man United, £20m

6 Roy Keane Man United, £20m

10 Thierry Henry Arsenal, £18m

Managers

1 Sir Alex Ferguson Man United, £15m

2 Sven Goran Eriksson England, £10m

3 Kevin Keegan Man City, £7m

3 Arsène Wenger Arsenal, £7m

5 David O'Leary Aston Villa, £5m

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