Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has emerged football’s highest player edging out closest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo who came second in the latest Forbes ranking announced today.
Messi’s recent decision to stay with Barcelona allowed him to claim No. 1 with $126 million in total earnings split into $34 million in endorsements and $92 million in salary.
Ronaldo’s cashed in on his huge fanbase and lucrative sponsorships to reach $117 million in total earnings.
Through endorsement deals with companies like Nike, Clear shampoo and Herbalife, he’s brought in $47 million on top of his $70 million salary.
Following Messi and Ronaldo is Brazil international and PSG striker, Neymar with an earnings of $96 million while teammate and France international, Kylian Mbappe sits in the fourth position.
The 21-year-old who was named the Ligue 1 Golden Boot winner raked in $14 million in endorsements, which includes deals like his EA Sports FIFA 21 game cover, making him one of the youngest players to land it solo. His total earnings reached $42 million.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah ($37 million) is fifth.
Manchester United and French national team star Paul Pogba ($34 million), Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann ($33 million), Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale ($29 million), Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski ($28 million) and Manchester United’s David De Gea ($27 million) round out the top 10.
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Forbes’ list includes soccer salaries for the 2020-21 season, bonuses and endorsements after converting the figures to U.S. dollars. All earnings are pre-tax.