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Lionel Messi tops Forbes' highest-paid athletes list

PSG forward Lionel Messi was sport’s top earner over the last year. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

PSG forward Lionel Messi was sport’s top earner over the last year. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Published May 12, 2022

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Paris - Lionel Messi was the world's highest-paid athlete over the last year, according to the annual Forbes list released on Wednesday that had the PSG forward ahead of the NBA's LeBron James and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi earned $130 million (R2 103 718 500,00), a figure which includes $55 million (R890 034 750,00) of endorsements, during the 12-month period ended May 1, 2022, to sit atop the list of the 10 highest-paid athletes a year after finishing second to Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor.

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Los Angeles Lakers forward James was next on the list after bringing home a combined $121 million (R1 958 076 450,00), shattering the $96.5 (R1 561 517 645,00) million record for an NBA player that he set last year, while Portugal captain Ronaldo earned $115 million (R1 860 875 950,00) to sit third.

Brazilian soccer player Neymar (R1 537 245 350,00) and three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry (R1 501 645 984,00) of the Golden State Warriors rounded out the top five.

NBA player Kevin Durant (R1 488 700 760,00) was sixth while Swiss tennis great Roger Federer, who played five tournaments in 2021 before a knee operation curtailed his season, was third with total earnings of $90.7 million (R1 467 272 040,00).

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The final three spots on the list went to Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez (R5 563 395,00), seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady (R5 186 320,45) and reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo (R4 998 675,90).

Forbes said its on-the-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned during the 12-month period while off-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income.

Reuters

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