Far from sparkling in the colors of his new Parisian club, Lionel Messi has distinguished himself by taking the top of the Forbes annual ranking of the highest paid sportsmen in the world – the second time after 2019. With 130 million dollars (125 million euros) in gross income before taxes over the last 12 months, the Argentine star is ahead of Los Angeles Lakers basketball player LeBron James (2nd, $121.2 million) and Cristiano Ronaldo (3rd, $115 million), his eternal rival of Manchester United. Neymar Jr, another PSG star, ranks fourth with $95 million.
In detail, the seven-time Ballon d’Or – which arrived in Paris in the summer of 2021 – pocketed $75 million for his sports performance, to which is added $55 million in income from his sponsors, including Pepsi, Budweiser , Adidas or Socios. Dolphin of “La Pulga”, LeBron James dethroned the record of 96.5 million dollars (93 million euros) for an NBA player, which he himself had established last year. The Lakers star now accumulates $41.2 million on NBA floors and $80 million in extra-sports income for a total of $121.2 million (116 million euros). His fortune is thus estimated at 850 million dollars by the American economic magazine and he is at the top of the ranking of sports income. Just behind, Cristiano Ronaldo – who is not having his best season under the colors of his new team, Manchester United – continues to see his income increase. He receives 60 million dollars on the ground and 55 million dollars in extra-sporting contracts for a total of 115 million dollars (110 million euros). Neymar ranks fourth in this ranking of the highest paid athletes. The PSG star has earned 95 million dollars (91 million euros) over the past year.
The rest of the ranking published by the business magazine includes three other basketball players, Stephen Curry (5th, Golden State Warriors), Kevin Durant (6th, Brooklyn Nets) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (10th, Milwaukee Bucks), tennis player Roger Federer (7th) , who made almost all of his income off the field, Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez (8th) and American footballer Tom Brady (9th, Tampa Bay Buccaneers). Finally, Conor McGregor, former MMA champion and number 1 in 2021 – thanks to the sale of his brand of Irish whiskey – dropped out of the top 10. A downgrade that leads to a 6% drop in total income for members of this prestigious ranking, with $992 million in the last 12 months, the third highest after 2018 ($1.06 billion) and 2021 ($1.05 billion). In terms of extra-sports income, the ten athletes named have pocketed around $500 million from their endorsement deals and public appearances, as well as income from the companies they manage and stakes they have sold.