According to the annual Forbes list released on Wednesday, Lionel Messi was the world’s highest-paid athlete in the previous year, surpassing LeBron James of the NBA and Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United.
Messi earned $130 million in the 12-month period ending May 1, 2022, including $55 million in endorsements, to place first among the top ten highest-paid sportsmen a year after finishing second to Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor.
Next on the list was Los Angeles Lakers star James, who made a total of $121 million, smashing his previous record of $96.5 million established last year, and Portugal captain Ronaldo, who got $115 million.
The top five athletes were Brazilian soccer player Neymar ($95 million) and Golden State Warriors’ three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry ($92.8 million).
Kevin Durant of the NBA ($92 million) finished sixth, while Roger Federer of Switzerland was third with $90.7 million in total earnings after competing in five events in 2021 due to a knee injury.
Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez ($90 million), seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady ($83.9 million), and 2017 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo ($80.9 million) rounded out the top three on the list.
According to Forbes, on-field earnings comprise all prize money, salary, and bonuses received over a 12-month period, and off-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees, and licensing revenue.