Struggling in the French Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi has shined financially over the past 12 months. According to Forbes, the Argentine star is at the top of the list of the highest paid athletes in the world.
Pre-tax, Lionel Messi reportedly earns $130 million a year from on- and off-court activities. This sum allowed the Pulga to overtake LeBron James and his rival Cristiano Ronaldo on the list of the richest. Messi, who earns $75 million a year playing football, also takes in $55 million through sponsorship deals and the like.
NBA star LeBron James ranks second on the rich list, earning $121.2 million a year. The Los Angeles Lakers center forward may have missed the playoffs this season. But he’s been dominant off the court, enjoying his talk show and starring in Space Jam: A New Legacy last year.
Cristiano Ronaldo completes the top three, earning $115 million after leaving Juventus for Manchester United. The Portuguese superstar earns the same as Messi off the pitch, with the majority coming from his unparalleled social media presence. Ronaldo has over 690 million followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. This allows him to take advantage of the higher referral fees of a number of companies.
It should be noted that Forbes calculates estimates based on prize money, salaries, and bonuses as well as estimates for endorsement deals and other off-field revenue sources.
Top 10 highest paid athletes according to Forbes in 2022:
1- Lionel Messi: 130 million dollars
2- LeBron James: $121.2 million
3- Cristiano Ronaldo: 115 million dollars
4- Neymar Jr: 95 million dollars
5- Stephen Curry: $92.8 million
6- Kevin Durant: $92.1 million
7- Roger Federer: $90.7 million
8- Canelo Alvarez: $90 million
9- Tom Brady: $83.9 million
10- Giannis Antetokounmpo: $80.9 million