Lionel Messi pips Cristiano Ronaldo yet again but this time as Forbes' richest athlete

Three of the world's top four highest-paid athletes over the past year were football players.

Lionel Messi topped Forbes' highest-paid athlete for 2022, beating off Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar.

The Argentine's total earnings add up to $130million compared to Ronaldo's $115m in third place and Neymar with $95m in fourth spot.

Messi - who joined Paris Saint-Germain in August from Barcelona - generated 58% of his money from 'on-field' activities according to Forbes which means in another way that it came from prize money, salaries and bonuses.

The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner made $55million from endorsements from the likes of Pepsi, Adidas and Budweiser.

His rival Ronaldo was also involved in a huge transfer in the summer, returning to Manchester United from Juventus.

CR7 - the first footballer to earn more than $1billion in his career - made $55million outside of football through sponsors such as Nike and Clear shampoo.

Ronaldo also has a combined 690 million followers across social media platforms, including Instagram, which allows him to gain high sponsorship fees for each post he uploads.

Neymar is the third and final footballer inside the top 10 of Forbes' rankings and like Messi, he also plays for PSG.

Lionel Messi Neymar PSG Mar22

On the field, the Brazilian forward pocketed $70million while also making a cool $25million outside football.

Neymar is the most expensive transfer in football history. He joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for $263million. He has won four league titles but is yet to win something that has eluded the Paris club since their heavy spending - the Champions League.

Elsewhere in the top 10, LeBron James - who has shares in Liverpool - is in second spot with total earnings of $121.2million while basketball duo Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant also make the top six with $92.8million and $92.1million, respectively.

Roger Federer, Canelo Alvarez, Tom Brady and Giannis Antetokounmpo complete Forbes' list.

World's Highest-Paid Athletes in 2022:

1) Lionel Messi - $130m

2) LeBron James - $121.2m

3) Cristiano Ronaldo - $115m

4) Neymar - $95m

5) Steph Curry - $92.8m

6) Kevin Durant - $92.1m

7) Roger Federer - $90.7m

8) Canelo Alvarez - $90m

9) Tom Brady - $83.9m

10) Giannis Antetokounmpo - $80.9m

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