Barcelona top Global Salaries League as Lionel Messi deal sees them climb past NBA franchises

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal
Image: Lionel Messi's new deal has taken Barcelona's average salaries past £10m

Barcelona have become the first sports team to pay its players an average salary of more than £10m per year.

The Spanish club have moved back to the top of the Global Sports Salaries Survey, paying an average of £10.46m per year in basic salary only, not including any bonuses or signing-on fees.

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Barcelona's figure has increased significantly on the back of a new deal for megastar Lionel Messi, while the club also signed high-profile players including Philippe Coutinho to lucrative contracts.

Their average weekly salary has also tipped just over the £200,000 mark weekly, at £201,043.

Spain also provides the No 2 team on the list - Real Madrid - whose average salaries have increased to £8.1m per year despite the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo for Juventus.

Russell Westbrook drives to the hoop against the Charlotte Hornets
Image: Russell Westbrook's Oklahoma City Thunder have been eclipsed at the top of the survey

Last year's biggest payers - NBA franchise Oklahoma City Thunder - are now third on £7.85m per year, with the top five rounded out by two of their competitors, the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards.

Manchester United are the only Premier League side to crack the top 10, in 10th place on £6.53m per year, just behind major climbers Juventus, who signed Ronaldo from Real over the summer.

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Ronaldo
Image: Ronaldo's deal with Juventus sees the Serie A side crack the top 10

United's position has risen from 23rd in 2017, while Manchester City round out the top 20, up four slots on just under £6m per season.

Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal are the only other Premier League teams to crack the top 50.

The Premier League is, however, the top-paying football league globally, with average annual salaries across all 20 teams reaching £2.99m, just over £700,000 per year ahead of La Liga.

At the other end of the scale, in the survey encompassing 349 sports teams across eight sports, the bottom five all come from the Scottish Premiership, with Livingston in 349th place on an average salary of £34,882 per year.

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