Barcelona are world's best-paid players

Barcelona's superstars might be coming to terms with finishing the season empty-handed, but their beleaguered players can at least comfort themselves with the knowledge that they are the best-paid team on the planet.

According to new figures collated by the highly-respected industry analysts Sporting Intelligence, Barcelona's first team squad earn an average of $158,700 a week - that's over $15,700 a week more than at any other club, playing any sport, anywhere in the world.

Second on the list is Real Madrid, whose players are far behind on a meagre $142,600 each, while Manchester City ($135,500) and Chelsea ($124,300) occupy third and fourth spots on the list.

Basketball's LA Lakers are the best-paid non-footballers, squeezing in at fifth with $115,540.

Baseball's New York Yankees are sixth ($113,150) despite having the world's best-paid team sportsman, Alex Rodriguez, on their books picking up a whopping £384,615 a week. The Yankees were number one when the list was originally published two years ago, but since then wages have been restricted across the Atlantic while in Europe the amounts demanded by top players has continued to rise.

Manchester United are just outside the top 10, with first team players pocketing an average of $99,700, while Arsenal ($96,600) are 16th and Liverpool ($95.660) are 18th.

The only other Premier League teams in the top 100 are Aston Villa at 41st ($74,404) and Tottenham at 51st ($69,684).

The report's authors claim that UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations are yet to make any serious impact at top clubs - and that they almost certainly never will.

"It is possible but by no means certain that some wage restraint at some European football clubs is on the horizon as a result of new 'Financial Fair Play' rules being introduced by UEFA (…) but the effectiveness of UEFA's policing remains to be seen.

"And in any case, the biggest, richest clubs will almost certainly continue to generate massive sums, and therefore continue to fund growing salary bills."

Barcelona may be set to lose their titles but they can comfort themselves with the knowledge that they are the best-paid team on the planet. - 2 Despite basketball mustering just two teams in the top dozen, the NBA is the best-paid (and most evenly-paid) league in the world with first team stars pocketing an average of $79,867. Even the worst-paid NBA team, the Indiana Pacers, pick up an average of $61,739 a week.

By contrast, Spain's La Liga is completely skewed towards the top end. Barcelona's players earn more than 22 times what the lowest-paying teams in the Spanish top flight earn.

At the time of publishing 1GBP = 1.569AUD