Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo leads Forbes list of highest paid athletes; Messi in third

The Portuguese is drawing a hefty pay cheque in Saudi Arabia

Al Nassr star Cristiano Ronaldo leads the list of Forbes’ highest paid athletes, whereas his eternal rival Lionel Messi comes in third position. Nonetheless, all the top 10 entrants on the list are raking in over a staggering $100 million a year, with PSG’s outgoing star Kylian Mbappe also featured.

It’s not surprising to see Ronaldo lead the way of highest pair sporting figure, given he currently boasts the world’s most expensive contract. In December 2022, the Portuguese joined Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr for a two-year deal that would see him bag €200 million per year, a world record.

Meanwhile, Messi, who joined Inter Miami from PSG last summer, earns £107 million, although much of it comes off the field than on it. Mbappe, who is likely to join Real Madrid this summer, draws £87 million ($110 million) and occupied sixth spot on the list.

Two more Saudi-based players, Neymar and Karim Benzema, who joined Al Hilal and Al Ittihad respectively last summer, also feature on the list.

Messi and Ronaldo still at it in their twilight

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo not only continue to draw hefty pay cheques, but also deliver on the field. Now 36 and 39 respectively, the extra-terrestrial duo show no signs of stopping. While Ronaldo has netted 42 times from 41 games for Al Nassr, Messi has begun the 2024 MLS campaign with Inter Miami on a strong note too, bagging 10 goals and assisting a further nine from as many games.

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