Football is an expensive business. Even after players have been bought for an enormous transfer fee (Paul Pogba currently holds the record at £89m), wages are astronomical. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo earns £424,615 every week. Not bad work if you can get it.
For football clubs and accountants though, this raises an important question: How can they be sure that they are getting a good deal? The good news is that now science has the answer.
Our pals at TechRadar report that researchers at Lawrence Technological University have completed an enormous data analysis to answer this very question. They took the salaries of 6082 European footballers, and mashed it up with a dataset of 55 attributes for each player, such as their passing accuracy and ball control - and using this, they were able to work out which footballers were the most overpaid, and which were the most underpaid.
The way it was calculated was by comparing the player stats to the salaries of statistically equivalent players. And unusually, as TechRadar notes, though Messi comes out as the most overpaid player, even using this model, he still deserves to be the highest paid player. It's just that Barcelona pays him such an enormous salary, that he's still being overpaid.
Other names on the overpaid list include Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Neymar, David De Gea, and Mesut Oezil.
And what about the most underpaid? According to the data Monaco player Bernado Silva should be talking to his trade union, as he's currently underpaid to the tune of €100,000.