Football: Ronaldo leapfrogs Messi in Forbes list of top-earning players

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make S$168.9 million before taxes in the 2021-22 season. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has reclaimed top spot in the list of the world's highest-paid football players from Lionel Messi, according to Forbes.

Ronaldo, 36, rejoined United from Juventus in August after 12 years away, while Messi has swopped boyhood club Barcelona to join Paris St Germain.

Forbes said Ronaldo, among the world's most popular athletes with over 500 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, is set to make US$125 million (S$168.9 million) before taxes in the 2021-22 season, with US$70 million coming from salary and bonuses at United.

The rest will come from endorsements and partnerships with brands including Nike, Herbalife, Clear and his CR7 brand.

Messi, who topped last year's list, will be paid a salary of US$75 million with an additional US$35 million from endorsements for total expected earnings of US$110 million.

Neymar, the Argentine's strike partner at PSG who in May signed a new contract until 2025, is third on the list with total earnings of US$95 million.

Another PSG player, Kylian Mbappe (US$43 million), is fourth on the Forbes list while Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah (US$41 million) is fifth.

Top 10 highest earners in football:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo - US$125 million

2. Lionel Messi - US$110m

3. Neymar - US$95m

4. Kylian Mbappe - US$43m

5. Mohamed Salah - US$41m

6. Robert Lewandowski - US$35m

7. Andres Iniesta - US$35m

8. Paul Pogba - US$34m

9. Gareth Bale - US$32m

10. Eden Hazard - US$29m

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