Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar top Forbes best paid athletes list

Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar top Forbes best paid athletes list

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi is the world's highest paid athlete, earning $127m (£99.8m) in the past 12 months, according to the Forbes top 100 ranking.

The American business magazine calculated the athletes' earnings by adding up their prizemoney, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019.

Messi is joined in the top-ten by Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo who earned a total of $109m (R1.6bn) and Neymar who picked up $105m (R1.54bn) with Paris Saint-Germain and his various sponsorships - which includes Nike.

His only fight since August 2017 was an exhibition boxing bout against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in December. The 25-year-old earned NZ$36.7 million in salary, with an additional NZ$4.6 million in endorsements.

There were no women in last year's list.

Brazilian PSG star Neymar ($105 million) completed a hat-trick of footballers at the top of Forbes' list, listed at number three despite earning $10 million more in salary/winnings than the Portuguese star.

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Athletes from 10 sports made the top 100, with National Basketball Association stars leading the way.

Adams earned more than the likes of Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady, Liverpool star Mo Salah and National Basketball Association all star centre Nikola Jokic.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba is the highest earning Premier League player in 44th place with $33m (£25.9m).

The fourth highest earner on the list was WBA, WBC, IBF middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez with $94 million.

Players from the National Basketball Association led all sports with 35 players among the top 100, none higher than Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James who was ranked eighth with total earnings of $89 million. Russell Wilson (NFL player) $135 million 7.