Lionel Messi Tops Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athlete List

The soccer superstar is joined by LeBron James, Tom Brady, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roger Federer in Forbes’ latest list of richest pro athletes.

(Getty Images)

Lionel Messi has ascended to the top of Forbes’ highest-paid athletes list with an estimated $130 in earnings over the past 12 months.

Thanks to endorsement deals and on-field contracts, the Paris Saint-Germain soccer superstar and longtime Argentina team captain made the exact same amount as he did in 2021, when he was second only to UFC fighter Conor McGregor, who fell out of the top 10 this year.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers moved up from fifth to second this year at $121.2 million, with $80 million in off-the-court earnings from his investment on at-home training brand Tonal and a multiyear partnership with Crypto.com, according to Bleacher Report.

Messi’s soccer rival, Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, returned to his third-place position with $115 million in earnings, followed by Messi’s teammate Neymar Jr. with $95 million and Golden State Warriors shooter Steph Curry with $92.8 million.

See Forbes’ top-10 highest-paid athletes of 2022 below:

1. Lionel Messi, Soccer ($130 million)

2. LeBron James, Basketball ($121.2 million)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Soccer ($115 million)

4. Neymar, Soccer ($95 million)

5. Stephen Curry, Basketball ($92.8 million)

6. Kevin Durant, Basketball ($92.1 million)

7. Roger Federer, Tennis ($90.7 million)

8. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Boxing ($90 million)

9. Tom Brady, American football ($83.9 million)

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo, NBA ($80.9 million)

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