Lionel Messi may have taken a pay cut when leaving Barcelona as a free agent to link up with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2021, but his superstar appeal has ensured that he takes the No.1 spot on Forbes’ run down of the highest-paid athletes on the planet, released on Wednesday.
Endorsements away from the pitch, alongside a lucrative deal at Parc des Princes, have allowed the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner to pip NBA legend LeBron James to first place on a notable chart that also includes Manchester United frontman Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG forward Neymar.
Iconic figures from the worlds of basketball, NFL, tennis and boxing complete the top 10, with there some serious marketing appeal on show in a run down of those that continue to pull in the biggest pay cheques.
Forbes’ list of the top 10 highest-earning athletes
1. Lionel Messi ($130m)
2. LeBron James ($121.2m)
3. Cristiano Ronaldo ($115m)
4. Neymar ($95m)
5. Stephen Curry ($92.8m)
6. Kevin Durant ($92.1m)
7. Roger Federer ($90.7m)
8. Canelo Alvarez ($90m)
9. Tom Brady ($83.9m)
10. Giannis Antetokonmpo ($80.9m)
– With goal.com input