| David Beckham is showered with champagne in Manchester on Tuesday
Paris: Manchester United midfielder David Beckham is the best-paid player in the world with annual wages estimated at 15 million euros ($17 million), France Football reported in a survey published on Tuesday.
The respected soccer magazine said a contract signed by Beckham with the new English champions had allowed him to overtake Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.
The French playmaker comes second with yearly earnings estimated at 14 million euros with Brazilian teammate Ronaldo third on 11.7 million euros.
But the England captain was criticised by Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly, who said Beckham was more of a showbiz personality than a soccer figure.
“David Beckham is no longer in the soccer world but he is an integral part of show business,” the France captain told the magazine.
“His wife (former Spice Girl Victoria) is already part of showbiz circles and he’s surrounded by people who give him advice, from the shoes he should wear to whether he should get a tattoo.
“Beckham has left the context of traditional football while players like Zidane or Ronaldo refuse to.”
Meanwhile, Beckham made it clear that he wants to stay at United and has had no contact with Real Madrid.
Beckham, who has been linked in the media with a move to the European champions for weeks despite both clubs constantly denying it, told Tuesday’s Manchester Evening News: “I want to stay at United. There’s been lots of stuff in the media about me and my future, but I can honestly say that there has been no contact between either me or my adviser with Real Madrid, or any other club.”
The report quoted the England captain as saying: “My feelings for Manchester United, the club itself, the players, the fans and the back room staff, are as strong as ever.
“I know (chief executive) Peter Kenyon and the manager Sir Alex (Ferguson) are saying they want me to stay, and that’s good enough for me. My affection for the club has never changed from the day I signed for United.”