Forbes latest list of the world’s highest-paid soccer players indicates that Manchester United forward, Cristiano Ronaldo, has surpassed Lionel Messi to claim the top spot.
Reuters report that Ronaldo, 36, rejoined United from Juventus in August after 12 years absence, while Messi has left his first club, Barcelona, to join Paris St Germain.
According to the report, Ronaldo, who is among the world’s most popular athletes with over 500 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, is set to make $125 million before taxes in the 2021-22 season, with $70 million coming from salary and bonuses at United. The rest will come from endorsements and partnerships with brands including Nike, Herbalife, Clear and his CR7 brand.
Messi, who topped last year’s list, will be paid a salary of $75 million with an additional $35 million from endorsements for total expected earnings of $110 million. The Argentine’s strike partner at PSG Neymar, who in May signed a new contract until 2025, is third on the list with total earnings of $95 million.
Another PSG player, Kylian Mbappe ($43 million), is fourth on the Forbes list while Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah ($41 million) occupies the fifth position.
Top 10 highest earners in soccer:
- Cristiano Ronaldo – $125 million
- Lionel Messi – $110 million
- Neymar – $95 million
- Kylian Mbappe – $43 million
- Mohamed Salah – $41 million
- Robert Lewandowski – $35 million
- Andres Iniesta – $35 million
- Paul Pogba – $34 million
- Gareth Bale – $32 million
- Eden Hazard – $29 million