Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has topped the Forbes list for highest-earning footballers in 2020, beating his eternal rival and Juventus player Cristiano Ronaldo.
The American business magazine Forbes confirmed that the duo, who have dominated the European club game in the last decade, are the best paid football players in the world. The magazine estimated Messi’s yearly earnings at $126 million (£97.2 million) in salary and endorsements, with Ronaldo a close second on $117 million (£90.3 million).
Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar was in third on an estimated $96 million (£74.1 million) with his teammate and French international Kylian Mbappe in fourth on a relatively modest $42 million (£32.4 million).
The top three remained unchanged from 2019, but Mbappe was the highest riser, climbing three places from seventh last year. The French star has sponsorship deals with Nike and Hublot, and also graced the cover of FIFA 21. In 2022, his contract will expire at PSG.
Liverpool's Mohamed Salah rearned $37m to move him into the top 5
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Manchester United’s duo Paul Pogba and David de Gea were theEnglish Premier League players to make the top 10. Striker Robert Lewandowski is the only player from European champions Bayern Munich to make the rich list in ninth place, at an estimated $28 million (£21.6 million).
Forbes list of highest earning footballers:
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina) $126m (£97.2m)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal) $117m (£90.3m)
3. Neymar (Paris St-Germain and Brazil) $96m (£74.1m)
4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain and France) $42m (£32.4m)
5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt) $37m (£28.5m)
France and Manchester United star, Paul Pogba
6. Paul Pogba (Manchester United and France) $34m (£26.2m)
7. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona and France) $33m (£25.5m)
8. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid and Wales) $29m (£22.4m)
9. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland) $28m (£21.6m)
9. David de Gea (Manchester United and Spain) £27m (£20.8m)