Lionel Messi dethrones Floyd Mayweather, becomes world's highest-paid athlete

Lionel Messi has dethroned retired boxer Floyd Mayweather as the world’s highest-paid athlete, raking in $127 million via salary and endorsement deals over the past year.

This was made known by Forbes magazine in their annual sporting rich list. Juventus’s Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is second on $109m (£85.6m) with Paris St-Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar in third on $105m (£82.5m).

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar completed a sweep of the top three positions by footballers, coming in third with earnings of $105 million.

The fourth highest earner on the list was Mexico’s middleweight boxing star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez with $94 million.

Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked the richest deal in boxing history last October, signing a five-year 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth $365 million.

Evergreen tennis star Roger Federer was fifth on the list with total earnings of $93.4 million.

The bulk of Federer’s earnings came through lucrative endorsement deals, with the 20-time Grand Slam singles champion pocketing $86 million.

Stars from the NFL and NBA rounded out the top 10 on the list, with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sixth on $89.5 million, just ahead of Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers ($89.3 million).

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was the highest earning NBA player, with $89 million, while Golden State’s Stephen Curry was ninth with $79.8 million.

Curry’s Golden State teammate Kevin Durant was 10th on the rankings with $65.4 million.

Former world number one Tiger Woods was 11th on the list with $69.3 million, which included an estimated $54 million in endorsements.

Meanwhile tennis superstar Serena Williams was the only woman to make the list, coming in at 63rd with earnings of $29.2 million.

FORBES RICH LIST 2019

  1. Lionel Messi $127M
  2. Cristiano Ronaldo $109M
  3. Neymar $105M
  4. Canelo Alvarez $94M
  5. Roger Federer $93.4M
  6. Russell Wilson $89.5M
  7. Aaron Rodgers $89.3M
  8. LeBron James $89M
  9. Stephen Curry $79.8M
  10. Kevin Durant $65.4M
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