Ronaldo leapfrogs Messi in Forbes list of top-earning football players

Published September 23, 2021
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after the match with West Ham United at London Stadium, London, Britain on September 19. — Reuters
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after the match with West Ham United at London Stadium, London, Britain on September 19. — Reuters

Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has reclaimed top spot in the list of the world's highest-paid football players from Lionel Messi, according to Forbes.

Ronaldo, 36, rejoined United from Juventus in August after 12 years away, while Messi has swapped boyhood club Barcelona to join Paris St Germain.

Forbes said Ronaldo, among the world's most popular athletes with over 500 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, is set to make $125m before taxes in the 2021-22 season, with $70m 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 $75m with an additional $35m from endorsements for total expected earnings of $110m.

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 $95m.

Another PSG player, Kylian Mbappe ($43m), is fourth on the Forbes list while Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah ($41m) is fifth.

Top 10 highest earners in football:

Cristiano Ronaldo - $125m

Lionel Messi - $110m

Neymar - $95m

Kylian Mbappe - $43m

Mohamed Salah - $41m

Robert Lewandowski - $35m

Andres Iniesta - $35m

Paul Pogba - $34m

Gareth Bale - $32m

Eden Hazard - $29m

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