June 12 – Lionel Messi is now officially the world’s highest paid sport star earning $127 million in the past 12 months, according to the Forbes top 100 ranking.
The Barcelona and Argentine maestro is just ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in second on $109 million with Paris St-Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar third on $105 million as footballers were ranked as the top three earners in sport for the first time.
Forbes calculates the athletes’ earnings by adding up their prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019.
Last year’s highest earner, boxer Floyd Mayweather, dropped off the list completely.
With equal pay for elite women athletes very much part of the ongoing sports narrative, tennis star Serena Williams was the only woman to feature, coming in 63rd. There were no women at all in last year’s list. To make the top 100, athletes had to earn a minimum of $25 million.
Messi was one of 38 non-American athletes on the list, with 62 US stars in the top 100.
Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor of Forbes Media, said: “The global impact of soccer is clearly reflected in earnings in 2019, with the top three athletes on the list being Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar.
“But basketball players continue to dominate the top 100 overall, with 35 athletes on the list earning a total of $US1.29 billion, with 72% of that income coming from salaries rather than endorsement deals.”
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