Lionel Messi was named the world’s highest-paid sports star for the first time, with earnings reaching $127 million over the last 12 months, according to the Forbes’ annual ranking of the World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes.
Messi earned $92m in salary and winnings, and $35m in endorsements, according to the American business magazine.
Messi beat striker Cristiano Ronaldo who was ranked second with $109 million, as well as Neymar who came in the third place with $105 million.
The Barcelona star has overthrown last year’s top ranked Floyd Mayweather who topped the list four times in seven years. Mayweather was not featured on the list this year.
Serena Williams was the only female athlete in the top 100, being ranked in the 63rd position with $29.2 million.
“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 $1.29 billion, with 72% of that income coming from salaries rather than endorsement deals,” senior editor, Forbes Media, Kurt Badenhausen, pointed out.
The ranking list includes players from ten different sports, with NBA stars being the forerunners as 35 basketball players were ranked among the top 100, headed by LeBron James at No. 8 with $89 million.
Football was the next most-featured sports (19 players), followed by baseball (15 players), and soccer (12 players).
Below are the top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2019:
1 Lionel Messi - $127m
2 Cristiano Ronaldo - $109m
3 Neymar - $105m
4 Canelo Alvarez - $94m
5 Roger Federer - 93.4m
6 Russell Wilson - $89.5m
7 Aaron Rodgers - $89.3m
8 LeBron James - $89m
9 Stephen Curry - $79.8m
10 Kevin Durant - $65.4m