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What really moves the world of sport is money, and football is no exception. Being a footballer is one of the best-paid professions in the world, with very high salaries for the elite players. And if you're one of the very best and interested in the highest financial reward, your aim should be to play for Barça. That's the take away from the new Sport Intelligence report "Global Sport Salaries Survey 2017".

Barça, the best payer in football

This year the Catalan club has risen from second place to be the club with the highest salaries in the world. The average yearly wage for a Barça player in now 7.2 million euros (£6.6 million, $8.6 million).

Barça is closely followed by PSG. The arrival of Neymar and Mbappé among a group of expensive new faces for the French team has shot them into second position. On average, a PSG player earns 7.1 million euros per season (£6.5 million, $8.4 million).

Real Madrid have also risen this year to third place, pushing last year's leader Manchester United into fourth place, barely squeezing out rivals Manchester City with a difference of less than 6,000€ per year (£5,200, $7000) between their average salaries.

  Club Weekly average Yearly average
1 Barça 138,312 € 7,191,037 €
2 PSG 135,666 € 7,054,633 €
3 Real Madrid 130,510 € 6,784,843 €
4 Man United 109,887 € 5,712,703 €
5 Man City 109,776 € 5,706,960 €
6 Bayern 108,689 € 5,650,415 €
7 Juventus 101,758 € 5,290,104 €
8 Chelsea 93,324 € 4,851,647 €
9 Arsenal 84,645 € 4,400,427 €
10 At. Madrid 80,701 € 4,195,414 €
  Espanyol 21,933 € 1,140,293 €
  Girona 12,938 € 672,816 €

It remains a curiosity that the other leading Catalan football clubs, Espanyol and Girona, also make the list. The first of them is the ninth-highest payer in La Liga with an average salary of 1.1 million euros per year (£1.0 million, $1.4 million). This puts it at position 185 among all sports clubs.

The report also shows that Girona, after the purchase of part of the club by City Football Club, owners of Manchester City, has seen its income and economic capacity improve notably with its recent rise to the first division. It's the fifteenth-highest paying in the Spanish league, at position 215 on the general list.

An NBA rout

But, even ahead of football, the best-paying sport is basketball. The NBA dominates in the payment of salaries worldwide. The US league is a good place to earn an early retirement, or at least set up a small fortune.

The ranking this year is headed by Oklahoma City Thunder, not reigning champions Golden State Warriors, nor the Cleveland Cavaliers who won their first championship the year before. The Thunder owe their place to the wages they pay their stars Russel Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

  Club Sport Salary / year
1 Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball 7.795.625 €
2 Cleveland Cavaliers Basketball 7.544.136 €
3 Golden State Warriors Basketball 7.498.143 €
4 Barça Football 7.191.037 €
5 PSG Football 7.054.633 €
6 Charlotte Hornets Basketball 7.027.647 €
7 Portland Trail Blazers Basketball 7.015.072 €
8 LA Clippers Basketball 6.986.831 €
9 R. Madrid Futbol 6.784.843 €
10 New Orleans Pelicans Football 6.611.060 €

American football's record

Despite the very high salaries seen in the NBA and European football, they're not the most profitable once the number of games played is taken into account. A US basketballer can play 82 matches per season, whilst a European footballer will play 38 on average, pushing their salaries per match much lower than those of American football players.

  League Sport Matches / season Salary / match
1 NFL American football 16 141.573 €
2 Premier League Football 38 75.821 €
3 NBA Basketball 82 73.103 €
4 Lliga Santander Football 38 48.206 €

American football player play an average of only 16 matches per year and so their average per game doubles the best-paying football and basketball leagues. Playing in the NFL can net you 141,573 euros per match (£130,000, $170,000). Sports are different.