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Lionel Messi news: Messi officially joins Ronaldo in an elite group, after he is named the top-paid athlete in the world by Forbes

11 Jun 2019, 20:50 IST

Lionel Messi has earned more than any other sportsman between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019.
Lionel Messi has earned more than any other sportsman between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019.

What's the story?

American business magazine Forbes published its annual ranking of the World’s 100 Highest-Paid athletes, in which Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi clinched the top spot with a whopping $127 million in total earnings, through salary, prize money, bonuses and of course plenty of lucrative endorsement deals.

With this achievement, he has become only the second footballer ever to lead the prestigious list, behind longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who earned the recognition for two years in a row in 2016 and 2017.

In case you didn't know...

This list consists of elite athletes from ten different sports, with the cream of the crop mostly consisting of some of the world's best sporting personalities from football, basketball and boxing.

Last year, for the first time in his career, Messi had dethroned his eternal rival as the top-paid footballer across the globe, as his earnings last year were only exceeded by boxing icon Floyd Mayweather.

The heart of the matter...

Messi, 31, who is considered by many as the greatest player ever to step out on the football pitch, has had a phenomenal season with his club, scoring 51 goals across all competitions, while also sweeping up the top scorer award in the UEFA Champions League and ending the season with a record sixth Pichichi honor and European Golden Shoe.

So, it's no wonder why his brand value and subsequent earnings remain as high as ever, which was ratified by Forbes, as he earned more than any other athlete on the planet between June 1, 2018 and June 1, 2019. His earnings can be broken down as $92 million in salary and $35 million in endorsements.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner topped the earning charts in Forbes annual list of World’s 100 Highest-Paid athletes, ahead of his adversary Ronaldo, who took a pay cut with his four-year deal worth $64 million annually, when he joined Juventus last summer and earned $109 million in the same period.

With the Portuguese ace aged 34 at present, his brand value might be on the wane, but he remains the most followed athlete on social media with nearly 400 million total followers.

Interestingly, football players bagged all the top three spots in this years list, with PSG star Neymar joining the dynamic duo with an earning of $105 million.

What next?

Ronaldo won the UEFA Nations League with Portugal on Sunday. Lionel Messi too will have a chance when Argentina play in the Copa America 2019.

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