Lionel Messi beats Cristiano Ronaldo to top spot in list of richest footballer in the world

It’s that time of year again when the list of the top 10 biggest earners in football is revealed.

The annual list, compiled by Forbes, has resulted from the magazine speaking to clubs, agents, commercial sponsors and other experts from around Europe and the United States.

This year’s list features players from the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, and all sums below are pre-tax figures.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 richest footballers in the world:

10. David de Gea

The Manchester United shotstopper did not enjoy his best season on the pitch, but it was a good year for the Spaniard financially.

The goalkeeper made a total of $27million (£20.9m) this year, securing a wage of $24m (£18.6m) from the Red Devils with a nice bonus sum of $3m (£2.3m) through sponsorships.

De Gea is one of two United players to feature on the list…

9. Robert Lewandowski

You have to think the Pole was cruelly denied the Ballon d’Or this year following the scrapping of the award this season.

But the Bayern Munich striker’s earnings of $28m (£21.7m) may go some way to cheering him up.

‘Lewangoalski’ netted a stunning 51 times as FC Hollywood secured the treble, and the club lived up to their nickname in paying him $24m (£18.6m) in wages, to go with his sponsorship deals worth $4m (£3.1m).

8. Gareth Bale

Not a bad position on the list for someone who never plays?

The Wales winger pocketed $29m (£22.5m) this year, with his salary equating to $23m (£17.8m) of that total as endorsements brought in $6m (£4.7m).

Bale has long been linked with a return to the Premier League, and it would be interesting to see how such a move would affect those numbers.

7. Antoine Griezmann

The France forward has failed to set the world alight following his move to Barcelona, but he may find some consolation in the $33m (£25.6m) he earned this year.

Barca paid the former Atletico Madrid man a salary of $28m (£21.7m), while he earned a further $5m (£3.9m) in sponsorship money.

Was it worth the move to the Catalan club?

6. Paul Pogba

Manchester United midfielder Pogba narrowly misses out on the top five, but don’t feel too sorry for him.

The Frenchman made $34m (£26.3m) this year, which can be broken down into wages worth $28m (£21.7m) and endorsements of $6m (£4.6m).

Do you expect those endorsement numbers to keep rising?

5. Mohamed Salah

The Liverpool forward is the the third and final Premier League player to make the list.

The league winner earned a total of $37m (£28.7m) this year, comprising wages of $24m (£18.6m) and sponsorship deals equating to $13m (£10.1m).

Would the Egypt international’s worth be even greater at the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona, or is he best off where he is?

4. Kylian Mbappe

At 21, the World Cup winner is the youngest player to feature on this list.

The France and Paris Saint-Germain forward earned $42m (£32.5m) this year, with a salary of $28m (£21.7m) and endorsement money worth $14m (£10.8m).

Try not to think about how much the Ligue 1 Golden Boot winner has already made at his stage in his life compared to the average Joe…

3. Neymar

A Champions League runner-up with PSG, Neymar was one of the best performers on the pitch this season.

He was also one of the highest earners, making a total of $96m (£74.4m).

The Brazil winger’s earnings can be split into a salary of $78m (£60.5m) and sponsorships worth $18m (£13.9m).

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

The Juventus forward stays in second with total earnings of $117m (£90.7m) for the year.

The Portuguese’s salary at the Serie A side is $70m (£54.4m), while endorsements pocketed the 35-year-old $47m (£36.4m).

Ronaldo might be slowly edging towards the end of his career, but he’s no less valuable.

1. Lionel Messi

The Barcelona captain, who threatened an exit from the La Liga club this summer, was the highest-paid football player in the world this year – retaining the top spot from 2019.

The Argentine’s total earnings were $126m (£97.7m), which can be broken down into a salary of $92m (£71.3m) and sponsorship deals worth $34m (£26.4m).

Those numbers would likely have been even higher had the 33-year-old secured a move to Manchester City of PSG…

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