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22nd Sep 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Lionel Messi as Forbes’ highest-paid footballer

Charlie Herbert

Cristiano Ronaldo named the highest earning footballer in the world

It’s despite Messi having a higher basic salary

Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken Lionel Messi at the top of the football earning charts after his summer move to Manchester United.

The Portuguese superstar is set to earn a staggering £91.5 million this season, more than £10 million more than Messi, despite the Argentinian’s move to PSG.

This puts Ronaldo in the number one spot on Forbes’ list of best the world’s highest-paid footballers.

His return to Manchester United could see him earn £51.25 million in salary and performance-related bonuses, less than Messi who is set to earn £54.94 million from his PSG contract.

But Ronaldo is streets ahead of Leo in terms of sponsorship payments, earning £40 million every year, compared to Messi’s £25.6 million.

In fact, according to Forbes there are only three other active athletes in the world who earn more than Ronaldo commercially. They are Roger Federer (£66 million), LeBron James (£47.7 million) and Tiger Woods (£44 million).

Coming in at third place in the list is Messi’s PSG teammate Neymar, who earns £69.5 million a year. And in fourth is another PSG player, Kylian Mbappe, who earns a measly £31.5 million a year, just over a third of Ronaldo’s earnings.

Perhaps surprisingly, there isn’t a single Chelsea or Manchester City player in the top 10, with the only other Premier League players in the top 10 being Mohamed Salah in fifth (£30 million a year) and Paul Pogba in eighth (£25 million a year).

And the most surprising name in the top 10? Well, it’s probably Andres Iniesta who, at the age of 37 and despite having left Barcelona 3 years ago, still earns £26 million a year. He’s currently plying his trade at Japanese club Vissel Kobe.

So whilst the debate will rage on for months and years to come over who is the greatest, Messi or Ronaldo, at the moment there is no debate over who has the most financial muscle.

It’s a victory for the Ronaldo fanboys.

Related links:

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Paris Saint-Germain and FFP: How PSG can afford Messi, Neymar and more