The Argentine has topped this year’s football rich list, according to Forbes, to become just the second player in history — after Cristiano Ronaldo — to reach $1 billion in pre-tax earnings.
Messi publicly admitted this summer that he wanted to leave Barcelona “all year” but club president Josep Maria Bartomeu refused his request. That means the 33-year-old will pick up $92 million for the remaining year of his contract.
Forbes estimate Messi’s total yearly earnings for 2020 — including endorsements — at $126 million, ahead of Juventus forward Ronaldo in second on $117 million. Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar is in third with $96 million and teammate Kylian Mbappe, by far the youngest player in the top 10, is fourth with $42 million.
The 21-year-old Frenchman, one of the youngest players to grace the cover of FIFA’s EA Sports video game series, is expected to climb the list, says Forbes, by signing a new contract when his current deal with PSG expires in 2022.
Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mo Salah rounds up the top five at $37 million, with fellow Premier League star Paul Pogba just behind him in sixth at $34 million.
Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann ($33m), Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale ($29m), Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski ($28m) and Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea ($27m) complete the top 10.