Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo top Forbes ranking of highest-paid football players

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo top this year’s Forbes ranking of the highest-paid football players once again, after Messi resolved a weeks-long contract drama to land the top spot with $126 million, nudging out Juventus’s Ronaldo who comes in at No. 2 with $117 million, Forbes reports.

Neymar comes third, followed by teammate Kylian Mbappe (4th) and Mohamed Salah (5th).

In all, the top 10 players in the world are expected to pull in $570 million in salary, bonus and endorsements this upcoming season, barring no further pandemic pauses that led to 30-70% pay cuts last Spring across European leagues. The combined haul is up 11% from the 2019-20 season.

1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Total Earnings: $126 million
Salary: $92 million | Endorsements: $34 million

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus

Total Earnings: $117 million
Salary: $70 million | Endorsements: $47 million

3. Neymar, Jr., Paris Saint-Germain

Total Earnings: $96 million
Salary: $78 million | Endorsements: $18 million

4. Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain

Total Earnings: $42 million
Salary: $28 million | Endorsements: $14 million

5. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool

Total Earnings: $37 million
Salary: $24 million | Endorsements: $13 million

6. Paul Pogba, Manchester United

Total Earnings: $34 million
Salary: $28 million | Endorsements: $6 million

7. Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona

Total Earnings: $33 million
Salary: $28 million | Endorsements: $5 million

8. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid

Total Earnings: $29 million
Salary: $23 million | Endorsements: $6 million

9. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich

Total Earnings: $28 million
Salary: $24 million | Endorsements: $4 million

10. David De Gea, Manchester United

Total Earnings: $27 million
Salary: $24 million | Endorsements: $3 million

To compile our list, Forbes spoke with clubs, players’ agents, commercial sponsors and soccer experts in the U.S. and Europe. Earnings are pre-tax.

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