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Lionel Messi sits atop Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athletes for 2022 ahead of the NBA’s LeBron James

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Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athletes List 2022 has been released and it turns out the 7-time Ballon D’or winner Lionel Messi topped the list with whopping earnings of $130 Million ahead of NBA’s LeBron James and Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Forbes said its on-the-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned during the 12-month period while off-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income.

Lionel Messi captures the top position on the list ahead of Lebron James

lionel messi lebron james

Lionel Messi’s $130 million figure includes $55 million of endorsements, during the 12-month period ended May 1, 2022. Messi’s $20 million-a-year partnership with Socios added to an endorsement portfolio that includes Adidas, Budweiser and PepsiCo. He also became Hard Rock International’s first athlete brand ambassador in a deal announced last June which has helped him draw level with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo with his off-field earnings for the first time since 2013.

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Lionel Messi also bagged the Ballon d’Or in 2021 as the world’s best men’s soccer player, but he has had a tougher time on the pitch more recently, scoring just nine goals in 32 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain. He had notched 38 goals in 47 games in his final season for Barcelona. He also captured the French Ligue 1 title in Messi’s first season.

Los Angeles Lakers forward James was next on the list after bringing home a combined $121 million, shattering the $96.5 million record for an NBA player that he set last year, while Portugal captain Ronaldo earned $115 million to sit third.

It was further noted that Brazilian soccer player Neymar bagged a staggering $95 million while the three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry ($92.8 million) of the Golden State Warriors rounded out the top five.

NBA player Kevin Durant ($92 million) was sixth while Swiss tennis great Roger Federer, who played five tournaments in 2021 before a knee operation curtailed his season, was third with total earnings of $90.7 million.

The final three spots on the list went to Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez ($90 million), seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady ($83.9 million) and reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo ($80.9 million).

Check out the full list below:

list forbes
Credits: Sports Illustrated
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