In general, when most American fans think of over-the-top spending in sports, the Yankees come to mind, but the Bronx Bombers are surprisingly not even close to being the kings of average global sports compensation.

Money doesn't grow on trees, it just seems that way for teams in the biggest sport on Earth. The world's top four sports franchises in annual average payroll are all found on the pitch.

Leading the way is Barcelona's soccer club, with an average $8.6 million salary per player. That was good enough to top the 2012 Global Sports Salaries Survey released this week. Real Madrid is a close second at $7.7 million in annual wages, followed by Manchester City ($7.4 million) and Chelsea ($6.7) million.

The Yankees aren't even the top United States franchise to make the list.

Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers are ranked number five in the world, but No. 1 in terms of America at an average of $6.2 million in annual payroll per player.

A-Rod's Yankees are sixth on the list at $6.1 million per player on average, while the Philadelphia Phillies (9) and San Antonio Spurs (12) were the other American franchises to make the top 12 franchises in sports salaries.

All things considered, an impressive 66.6 percent of the list was made up of soccer clubs. American franchises took up just 33.3 percent, without a single National Football League franchise, despite its popularity, making the list (this probably had a lot to do with how many players are required on a football team, combined with league payroll restrictions).

-- Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.

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