Cristiano Ronaldo has become the world’s highest-paid footballer, according to Forbes’ most recent rankings, surpassing Lionel Messi
According to Forbes, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to earn $125 million (£91.63 million) before taxes in the 2021-22 season after returning to Manchester United, with $70 million (£51.31 million) coming from his salary and bonuses at Old Trafford, and Lionel Messi is expected to earn $110 million (£80.63 million) this season after joining Paris Saint-Germain.
Only three athletes are expected to earn more from sponsorship than the 36-year-old: Roger Federer ($90 million, £65.97 million), LeBron James ($65 million, £47.64 million), and Tiger Woods ($60 million, £43.98 million).
Despite signing a lucrative contract with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Messi, who topped the standings last year, drops to second.
According to Forbes, the former Barcelona player will make $110 million (£80.63 million) this season, with $75 million (£50 million) coming from his salary and bonuses at Parc des Princes.
Meanwhile, Messi’s club team-mates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are third and fourth on the list respectively.
Neymar is set to earn $95m (£69.68m) in the 2021-22 season, while Mbappe is some way behind the Brazilian with expected earnings of $43m (£31.54m).
Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is fifth in the rankings with expected earnings of $41m (£30.6m), while Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is sixth with $35m (£25.66m).
Perhaps a surprise inclusion on the list is former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, who is ranked seventh with earnings of $35m (£25.66m) – the bulk of which comes from his salary and bonuses at Japanese club Vissel Kobe.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is ranked eighth on the list, with a salary of $34 million (£24.92 million), while Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is ninth on the list, with a salary of $32 million (£23.46 million).
Another Real Madrid player rounds off the top 10, former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, who is set to earn $29m (£21.26m) in the 2021-22 campaign.