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Messi beats Ronaldo as the world’s highest-paid footballer

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo
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Lionel Messi has been declared the world’s highest-paid footballer of 2020, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar completing the top-three.

Despite all the off-field dramas, which ended with him bottling out of an exit from Barcelona, Messi still bags a handsome $92m salary from the club, which is $22m more than what Juventus currently pay Ronaldo.

Add the $34m from endorsements to the mix, Messi’s total earnings amount to $126m according to Forbes. Therefore, he’s topped the polls as the best-paid footballer around the world in 2020.

The question is whether the Argentine will still be top in 12 months’ time? He insists the plan is to leave Barcelona once his contract expires, but joining another club will likely result in a huge pay cut – just as Ronaldo had at Juventus.

The Portuguese ace had to accept a big pay cut as part of his transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus in the summer of 2018. So in hindsight, it’s not surprising he earns far less than Messi in terms of club salary.

The summer of 2021 will have a telling impact on who finishes as the world’s best-paid star of the year, though. Messi will get an automatic $83m loyalty bonus if he stays at Barcelona and will stay ahead of Ronaldo. If not, this title may become CR7’s.

A closer look at the figures also shows that Cristiano earns a sweet $47m from endorsement deals. This beats Messi’s figure of $34m by a long mile and proves yet again the benefits of being the world’s most popular athlete.

Rounding off the top-three is Neymar on $96m with Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe in a distant fourth-place.

Top 10 highest-earning footballers

PosPlayerClubEndorsementsSalaryTotal
1Lionel MessiBarca$34m$92m$126m
2Cristiano RonaldoJuventus$47m$70m$117m
3NeymarPSG$18m$78m$96m
4Kylian MbappePSG$14m$28m$42m
5Mohamed SalahLiverpool$13m$24m$37m
6Paul PogbaMan United$6m$28m$34m
7Antoine GriezmannBarca$5m$28m$33m
8Gareth BaleReal Madrid$6m$23m$29m
9Robert LewandowskiBayern$4m$24m$28m
10David de GeaMan United$3m$24m$27m