The legendary duo remain the best-paid players in football, with PSG stars taking up three of the top four spots
Cristiano Ronaldo’s big-money move to Manchester United has helped him leapfrog Lionel Messi to become Forbes’ highest-earning footballer this year.
Ronaldo is set to earn $125 million (£91.5m) before taxes during the 2021-22 season, with $70m (£51.25m) of that coming from his salary and bonuses for his return to Old Trafford.
Messi, meanwhile, sits just behind him at $110m (£80.5m) with his new Paris Saint-Germain team-mates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe rounding out the top four.
Forbes’ top 10 highest earners in football
|Player||Club||2021-22 Total earnings|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Manchester United||$125m/
|Lionel Messi||Paris Saint-Germain||$110m/
|Kylian Mbappe||Paris Saint-Germain||$43m/
|Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich||$35m/
|Andres Iniesta||Vissel Kobe||$35m/
|Paul Pogba||Manchester United||$34m/
|Gareth Bale||Real Madrid||$32m/
|Eden Hazard||Real Madrid||$29m/
How does Ronaldo compare to other athletes?
With $55m (£40m) of his earnings coming from commercial deals, Ronaldo is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world when it comes to sponsorship earnings.
Only three other active athletes make more commercially than the Manchester United star: Roger Federer ($90m/£66m), LeBron James ($65m/£48m) and Tiger Woods ($60m/44m)
In total, the 10 highest-paid footballers are set to collect pretax earnings of around $585m (£428m) this season, up from last year’s total of around $570m (£471m).