Cristiano Ronaldo Beats Lionel Messi as Highest Paid Footballer

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Cristiano Ronaldo has been in imperious form since his return to Manchester United, hitting goals at will. What we now know is that the legendary striker will be the highest-paid footballer in 2021, earning $15 million more than Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo, who has more than a half-billion social media followers (Facebook 149 million, Instagram 344 million, and Twitter 94.3 million), recovered the top spot in Forbes’ list released on Tuesday.

During the 2021-22 season, Ronaldo is expected to earn $125 million (£91.5 million) before taxes, with $70 million (£51.25 million) coming from his salary and bonuses for his return to Old Trafford. In this post, we look at the top 5 highest-paid footballers in the world according to Forbes in 2021.

Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list with $125 million in earnings. Out of the 125, the Portuguese earns $70 million in salary and $55 million in brand sponsorships.

After Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi is the second highest-paid footballer. The Argentine, who was signed in the transfer window before the season by Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, earns a total of $110 million.

Lionel Messi, 34, was knocked off the top rank by his longstanding adversary, the 34-year-old Lionel Messi, who jumped to PSG after 21 years at Barcelona—and a soap-opera year of exit drama—for $75 million this season, boosting him to No. 2 on the list with $110 million.

After Spain’s La Liga imposed a cap on FC Barcelona’s wage spending, the club was obliged to end negotiations with Messi, the club’s record six-time world player of the year, who had played for Barça since he was 13 years old. He’ll supplement his PSG salary with an estimated $35 million in sponsorships from companies like Adidas, Pepsi, Jacobs & Co., and Budweiser, which he just signed a three-year agreement with last year.

The third player on the list, Neymar Jr, earns a total of $95 million.

Kylian Mbappe, a forward for France and Paris Saint-Germain, is fourth on the list, with a salary of $43 million.

Mohamed Salah earns a total of $41 million, according to the report. His annual compensation is $25 million, with brand sponsorships bringing in $16 million.

Football’s top 10 earners

Cristiano Ronaldo

Man Utd

$125m

Lionel Messi

PSG

$110m

Neymar

PSG

$95m

Kylian Mbappe

PSG

$43m

Mohamed Salah

Liverpool

$41m

Robert Lewandowski

Bayern Munich

$35m

Andres Iniesta

Vissel Kobe

$35m

Pogba Paul

Man Utd

$34m

Gareth Bale

Real Madrid

$32m

Eden Hazard

Real Madrid

$29m

The 10 highest-paid soccer players are set to make $585 million in pretax earnings this season, up from $570 million last year. Salary and bonus accounts for the majority of the total ($415 million), and are up 2.6 percent from last year as most clubs remain cautious in the wake of growing Covid-19 strains.

UEFA, Europe’s governing body of soccer, released a report in May claiming that its top-flight teams were facing a $8.5 billion income loss due to the pandemic, putting a stop to major player movement.

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