The two, who are regularly in the top three richest football clubs worldwide, have overtaken the New York Yankees as the best paid global sports teams.
The review, by Sporting Intelligence, found first team players’ average pay for the last season was $7.9m for Barcelona and $7.4m for Real Madrid.
The Yankees pay their players an average of $6.8m.
The highest paid footballers in the UK play for Chelsea, in sixth place in the pay scale.
The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic occupy fourth and fifth spots.
Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal were also among the 30 best-paid teams, making the Premier League the best-paying football league in the world.
This year’s report has been compiled in association with ESPN The Magazine in the US. Further details including pay for players in other sporting fields will be published later.
Nick Harris, the report’s author, said: “We’ve known for years that the biggest bucks have been in American basketball and baseball but the rise and rise in wages among the elite of European football continues, closing that gap.”
That, however, could change with new regulations from European football’s governing body, Uefa.
It plans to force clubs to stop spending more than they earn from next season.
Mr Harris said: “Financial fair play regulations may act as a brake on this inflation in football pay in a few years’ time but for now the big guns in Europe are still splashing out.”
Real Madrid are at the top of the league table of the world’s 20 richest football clubs for the sixth straight year, according to an annual study by the accountants Deloitte, which was published earlier this year.
Barcelona was second on the list, with Manchester United third, but the Deloitte review concentrates solely on day-to-day income from football business, and does not include debt, something that a number of top British clubs are financed by.