Highest-paid football stars in 2021; Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Lionel Messi

Forbes magazine published the latest edition of the highest-paid football players in the world in 2021. According to the latest Forbes rankings, Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo displaced Argentine Lionel Messi as the highest-paid footballer in the world. The decision was based on the records that calculated each player’s gross figures of base salary and bonuses with endorsement deals and other commercial partnerships.

When Cristiano Ronaldo jumped from Italy’s Juventus to Manchester United, the highest-paid Lionel Messi was dethroned by Cristiano when it comes to the other sources of income. Ronaldo is set to earn $125 million before taxes in the 2021-22 season, with $70 million coming from salary and bonus for his return to United. The 36-year-old is set to earn an estimated $55m from commercial deals. Only three other active athletes make more commercially: Roger Federer ($90 million), LeBron James ($65 million), and Tiger Woods ($60 million).

As per Forbes, Lionel Messi will earn $110m (£80.63m) this season, with $75 ..of that figure coming from his salary and bonuses at the Parc des Princes. Moreover, Ronaldo is the world’s most popular athlete as measured by social media followers which total more than half a billion.

Top10 of the highest-paid footballers of the year

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal / Manchester United): $ 125 million
  2. Lionel Messi (Argentina / PSG): $ 110 million
  3. Neymar Jr. (Brazil / PSG): $ 95 million
  4. Kylian Mbappe (France / PSG): $ 43 million
  5. Mohamed Salah (Egypt / Liverpool): $ 41 million
  6. Robert Lewandowski (Poland / Bayern Munich): $ 35 million
  7. Andrés Iniesta (Spain / Vissel Kobe): 35 million dollars
  8. Paul Pogba (France / Manchester United): $ 34 million
  9. Gareth Bale (UK / Real Madrid): $ 32 million
  10. Eden Hazard (Belgium / Real Madrid): $ 29 million