100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
Lionel Messi crowned sport’s best-paid athlete with £106m earnings to beat LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi is the world’s best-paid sports star in 2022, according to the latest figures published by Forbes.
Conor McGregor drops out of richest athletes list after being No.1 last year
McGregor topped the Forbes rankings last year but has not fought since last summer and has now dropped out of…
Conor McGregor slips out of top 10 highest paid athletes list
Last year McGregor topped the list with earnings of €173million
Tyson Fury above Conor McGregor among richest athletes as Jake Paul ranks 45th
This year list of highest-paid athletes has been released and McGregor has dropped over 20 places from his No.1 spot…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
LeBron James was world’s highest-paid athlete over the past year
LeBron James is not only considered arguably the best player in basketball, but he has also become a titan in…
Tom Brady’s historic $375m Fox Sports deal shows familiarity breeds content
The quarterback has the knowledge to make a good analyst. But it’s his fame and branding the network is most…
Get all your news in one place
Latest Sport news:
Transfer news LIVE! Arsenal boost in Youri Tielemans bid; Real Madrid eye Raheem Sterling
Follow all the latest transfer news and rumours across the summer
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
Hamilton: I wasn't defeatist with Spanish GP call to save Mercedes F1 engine
Lewis Hamilton says he was not being defeatist in his suggestion to retire and save the engine on his Mercedes…
Hamilton: I wasn’t defeatist with Spanish GP call to save F1 engine
Lewis Hamilton says he was not being defeatist in his suggestion to retire and save the engine on his Mercedes…
Turning despair into action for female athletes
After a decade of research, advocacy and outreach for female athlete health by NZ experts, why are sports organisations not listening and…
Celtics-Heat Takes Another Turn—This Time, Maybe for Good?
Boston added yet another blowout to a series full of them, and Miami looks battered and broken down. But it’s…
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
The 2022 KTM RC 390 Makes Its Debut In The Indian Market
KTM India has released the 2022 RC 390. The updated bike comes with a lot of refinements aimed at making…
CeeDee Lamb Facing Lawsuit From Trading Card Company
Leaf Trading Cards filed a lawsuit against the Cowboys receiver in Dallas on May 20.

Lionel Messi world's highest paid athlete with Cristiano Ronaldo also featuring in Top 10

By Tom Victor

Paris Saint-Germain forward Lionel Messi has topped Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes, with Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo also in the top 10.

Messi left Barcelona after the 2020-21 season, having previously spent his entire playing career with the Catalan club. He failed to lead PSG to European glory after signing a bumper deal with the French giants, but did score the goal which confirmed Les Parisiens as Ligue 1 champions.

Ronaldo was also on the move last summer, returning to Old Trafford after 12 years away. He has endured an even more disappointing season on the pitch, ending the campaign empty-handed, but has still earned enough on and off the pitch to join Messi on the podium.

The Forbes top 10 is dominated by athletes from other sports, with Messi, Ronaldo and PSG and Brazil forward Neymar the only footballers to make the cut. The 10 athletes on the list brought in a reported US$992m (£814m), with Messi accounting for $130m of that total.

Athletes' earnings combine their on-field and off-field earnings. The latter includes endorsements such as Messi's £15m deal with cryptocurrency platform Socios, which helped the Argentina international draw level with Ronaldo for earnings away from the pitch.

Neymar's fourth place on the list owes a lot to his $70m in on-field earnings. The Brazilian's basic salary had earlier been reported to be slightly higher than that of his club teammate, but Forbes' numbers include bonuses and prize money in 12-month period which saw Messi win the 2021 Ballon d'Or and lift the Copa America trophy with Argentina.

Will more footballers make the list in 2023? Have your say in the comments section

Messi won the Ballon d'Or in 2021 (AFP via Getty Images)

Other Messi income sources listed by Forbes include deals with Adidas, Budweiser, PepsiCo and Hard Rock Cafe. Ronaldo, meanwhile, has endorsements with Nike, Herbalife Clear shampoo and ZujuGP.

The two are separated on the list by basketball star LeBron James. James' earnings for the period from May 2021 to May 2022 sit at $121.2m, slightly ahead of Ronaldo's $115m.

Neymar is relatively far adrift of the top three. His $95m total includes Puma and Red Bull deals, while Forbes has also made reference to his investments in the NFT space.

Ronaldo and Messi made the same amount away from the pitch (PA)

The other names on the list represent a range of other sports, though basketball has the highest involvement. In addition to James, there are spots in the top 10 for Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, with the latter the only athlete on the list under the age of 30.

Completing the list are boxer Canelo Alvarez, tennis star Roger Federer and NFL legend Tom Brady, who met with Ronaldo shortly before announcing an about-face on his retirement. At 44 years of age, multiple Super Bowl champion Brady is the oldest member of the top 10.

Alvarez's $85m earnings from his exploits in the ring make him the highest on-field earner. In contrast, Federer made less than $1m on the court in the year in question, but raked in a huge $90m in off-field endorsements.

Federer is the biggest off-field earner (Reuters)

Forbes' list of the top 10 highest-earning athletes for the period from May 1, 2021 to May 1, 2022, including active athletes only:

1. Lionel Messi ($130m)

2. LeBron James ($121.2m)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo ($115m)

4. Neymar ($95m)

5. Stephen Curry ($92.8m)

6. Kevin Durant ($92.1m)

7. Roger Federer ($90.7m)

8. Canelo Alvarez ($90m)

9. Tom Brady ($83.9m)

10. Giannis Antetokonmpo ($80.9m)

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
Lionel Messi crowned sport’s best-paid athlete with £106m earnings to beat LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi is the world’s best-paid sports star in 2022, according to the latest figures published by Forbes.
Conor McGregor drops out of richest athletes list after being No.1 last year
McGregor topped the Forbes rankings last year but has not fought since last summer and has now dropped out of…
Conor McGregor slips out of top 10 highest paid athletes list
Last year McGregor topped the list with earnings of €173million
Tyson Fury above Conor McGregor among richest athletes as Jake Paul ranks 45th
This year list of highest-paid athletes has been released and McGregor has dropped over 20 places from his No.1 spot…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
LeBron James was world’s highest-paid athlete over the past year
LeBron James is not only considered arguably the best player in basketball, but he has also become a titan in…
Tom Brady’s historic $375m Fox Sports deal shows familiarity breeds content
The quarterback has the knowledge to make a good analyst. But it’s his fame and branding the network is most…
Get all your news in one place