Barcelona star Lionel Messi is now world’s highest paid athlete, earning $127m (£99.8m) in the past 12 months according to forbes.
Longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo make(No. 2), who earned $109 million between his salary and endorsements. Serena Williams (No. 63) returned to the ranking, after no women appeared in 2018.
In their list of the top 100 highest paid stars, Messi dethroned boxer Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather who topped last year’s rankings, earning a reported $127m over last 12 months through a combination of wages and endorsements.
Cost of admission to the 2019 list is the highest ever at $25 million, up $2.1 million from the previous year. Endorsement income experienced an increase of 12.5% to $987 million this year.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar complete the top three in Forbes’ list, standing alone as the only athletes to pocket over $100m over the last year.
Paris Saint-Germain winger and World Cup winner Mbappé is the youngest player on the entire top 100 list, two years younger than second place Saquon Barkley – a running back for the New York Giants.
Paul Pogba (44) and Andrés Iniesta (46) are also in the top 50.
Further down, Alexis Sánchez (53), Kylian Mbappé (55), Mesut Özil (57), Oscar (66), Antoine Griezmann (75), Gareth Bale (79) and Mohamed Salah (99) make up football’s representation on the list.
The list of elite athletes consists of players from ten different sports. NBA stars lead with 35 basketball players among the top 100, down from 40 in 2018, headed by LeBron James (No. 8 with $89 million).
Football was the next most-represented sport with 19 players, followed by baseball with 15, and soccer with 12.
|Salary/Winnings ($mil)||Endorsements ($mil)||Total Earnings ($mil)|
The Methodology use by forbes are earnings include prize money, salaries and bonuses earned between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019. Endorsement incomes are an estimate of sponsorships, appearance fees and licensing incomes for the same 12-month period based on conversations with dozens of industry insiders less taxes or agents’ fees, and they don’t include investment income.