David Beckham's 'retirement' made him £45.2 million last year

David Beckham is the second highest earning former sports star

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A new study has revealed that David Beckhamearned an incredible £45.2 million last year - two years after retiring from football. His huge haul came through a combination of endorsements and business ventures. It's an impressive sum, but how does it compare?

The research, by Forbes Magazine, listed some of his most lucrative endorsements as Adidas, Breitling and H&M. He also has a designer collection of sportswear with Kent and Curren, and has a contract with a Chinese real estate firm. The magazine pointed out that Beckham is the second-highest earning former sports star for the second year running.

Beckham has always had an impressive ability to make money aside from his footballing career. His endorsements were dwarfing his salary on the pitch by the end of his career - so it comes as no surprise that he's continuing to rake in the cash in 'retirement'.

He is also thought to be close to securing a football franchise in Miami, with the team starting in 2018. However, it remains to be seen whether this is going to be a money-spinner.

As we reported last year, his earning power - plus that of his family - make the Beckhams richer than the Queen. This is according to a study carried out by the London School of Marketing, which calculated the value of David's football revenues at £150 million, his Brand Beckham label at £70 million and Victoria's fashion ventures at £60 million. They then added in 'non-business assets' (including the marketing value of the entire family) of £190 million, to take the total to just shy of half a billion pounds.

The top earner

Beckham, however, doesn't make it to the top of the list of players making most from football. That position was taken by Lionel Messi, when he reportedly made £48 million last year - although Beckham beat the second man on that list - Cristiano Ronaldo.

And all three are beginners when compared to the man who tops the list of highest-earning former sports stars - Michael Jordan. Last year, some 13 years into his retirement, he made £76.5 million. Jordan owes the lion's share of his earnings to his incredibly successful partnership with Nike, and the Nike Jordan brand. It's worth noting that this year Forbes estimates that he will make more than any other athlete - including the ones who are still playing - and he's now worth more than $1 billion.

Third on the list was Arnold Palmer, the veteran golfer, who didn't allow the fact that he's 86 to interfere with making £27 million from his own drinks brand, stores and golf course. This is more than he made throughout his entire golfing career.

The only other footballer to reach the upper echelons of the list is Pele - who at the age of 75 made £9.7 million from endorsements and the rights to a film about his life.

The researchers calculated that the top 14 former athletes made £312 million between them. They are spread across six countries, and are former stars of baseball, basketball, American football, golf, tennis, motorsports and football. Li Na was the only woman on the list - partly due to her huge success as a reality star in China.

Celebrities with unusual business interests

Celebrities with unusual business interests