Lionel Messi is World’s Highest-paid Athlete

Barcelona forward, Lionel Messi, has emerged as the world’s highest-paid athlete over the past year, according to Forbes.

The influential magazine, on Tuesday, in its annual sporting rich list, said Messi dethroned retired boxer Floyd Mayweather as the sports world’s highest earner, raking in $127m in salary and endorsement deals.

That put Messi ahead of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the Juventus and Portugal star who was second with earnings of $109m.

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

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

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.

Swiss tennis legend, Roger Federer, came in 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 Warriors guard, Stephen Curry, coming in ninth with $79.8 million.

Curry’s Golden State team-mate 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.

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