Despite a poor season on the pitch, Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain was the highest-paid athlete in the world in the previous 12 months, according to Forbes.
The soccer sensation is said to earn $130 million per year in pre-tax gross profits from on-field and off-field endeavors, putting him ahead of LeBron James and rival Cristiano Ronaldo on the rich list.
Messi earns a whopping $75 million a year from soccer and another $55 million from sponsorships and sponsorship deals.
It’s the Argentine’s second time at the top of Forbes’ list, the first being in 2019.
Over the last year, the top ten highest earners, all of whom are men, earned a total of $992 million in pre-tax gross earnings.
Messi has been chastised for some of his off-field endorsements, including boosting Saudi Arabian tourism recently. He was photographed in the nation and shared a photo with the hashtag #VisitSaudi on his personal Instagram account.
Sportswashing has long been accused of being used to cover the country’s terrible human rights record.
“Qatar, the controversial crypto startup Socios, and Saudi Arabia have all recently been added to Messi’s financial streams. A man must eat “Tariq Panja of the New York Times tweeted about it.
Messi’s reps were contacted for comment by CNN but did not respond right away.
NBA superstar LeBron James ranks in second place on the list, earning $121.2 million per year.
The Los Angeles Lakers forward may have missed the playoffs this season, but he’s had a successful off-court career, with a talk show and a role in the film Space Jam: A New Legacy. According to Forbes, James is now worth $850 million.
Cristiano Ronaldo rounds out the top three, earning $115 million after joining Manchester United from Juventus.
Off the field, the Portuguese sensation makes the same as Messi, with the majority of his earnings coming from his unequaled social media presence.
Ronaldo has 690 million Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followers, which he can use to negotiate higher sponsorship prices from a variety of firms.
The figures are calculated by Forbes using prize money, salary, and bonuses, as well as sponsorship deals and other off-field revenue streams.
- Lionel Messi: $130 million
- LeBron James: $121.2 million
- Cristiano Ronaldo: $115 million
- Neymar: $95 million
- Stephen Curry: $92.8 million
- Kevin Durant: $92.1 million
- Roger Federer: $90.7 million
- Canelo Alvarez: $90 million
- Tom Brady: $83.9 million
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: $80.9 million