AC Milan’s Leonardo Bonucci and former Juventus teammate Gonzalo Higuain are the top Serie A earners but their wages fall short of European stars Neymar and Lionel Messi, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported.
Italy defender Bonucci, 30, and Argentina striker Higuain, 29, both pocket an estimated 7.5 million euros ($8.9 million) annually, the Italian sports daily said.
Bonucci joined AC Milan from Juventus in July and his salary does not include bonuses which would boost his annual earnings to 10 million euros.
Brazil striker Neymar became the world’s top-paid player with a salary of 30 million euros in a record deal with Qatar-owned Ligue 1 club PSG this summer. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is set to earn the same amount once his new deal with the Catalan giants is signed.
Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, once the highest earner, is paid a reported 22 million euros after tax by European champions Real Madrid.
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala comes third on the Serie A list on seven million euros, followed by teammate Douglas Costa and Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who now both earn six million euros.
Juventus boss Max Allegri is the highest earning Italian coach on seven million euros — nearly double his nearest rival Inter Milan’s Luciano Spalletti (4 million).
But Allegri comes just tenth among European coaches behind Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola whose whopping 18 million euros pay packet beats Manchester United’s Jose Mourino’s 16 million.
Gazzetta estimated that the wage bill in the Italian top flight grew from 927 million euros to 955 million euros this season, with champions Juventus (164 million) leading followed by Milan (117 million), AS Roma (91 million), Inter (82 million), Napoli (81 million) and Lazio (62 million).
The bill for players and coaches now tops one billion euros.