Messi trumps Ronaldo in battle of millionaires

LONDON • Lionel Messi was denied a potentially money-spinning move away from Barcelona this month after a contract dispute but the Argentinian maestro remains the world's richest football player.

According to a list compiled by Forbes, the 33-year-old's earnings this year totalled US$126 million (S$171.4 million) - US$92 million from his salary and US$34 million in endorsements.

Not surprisingly, his rival Cristiano Ronaldo comes in second, although his income of US$117 million will soften the blow for the Juventus forward, as will his status as the most followed footballer on social media.

Neymar (US$96 million) is third, ahead of Paris Saint-Germain teammate, 21-year-old Kylian Mbappe (US$42 million).

The Premier League remains the world's richest football league but only three of its players feature in the top 10 - Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah (US$37 million) is fifth, Manchester United's midfielder Paul Pogba (US$34 million) sixth and teammate, goalkeeper David de Gea (US$27 million), 10th.

Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann (seventh, US$33 million), Real Madrid's Gareth Bale (eighth, US$29 million) and Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich (ninth, US$28 million) round up the top 10.

Messi reluctantly agreed to stay at Barcelona for another season despite saying he wanted out after the 8-2 Champions League defeat by Bayern.

He argued that a clause in his contract stating that a €700 million (S$1.1 billion) release fee would need to be met for him to join another club was no longer active and that he could leave on a free transfer, which would have allowed him to command astronomical wages.

He is in the final year of the deal so he could leave for free next summer. By staying, he is also in line for the US$83 million loyalty bonus.

REUTERS


10 RICHEST FOOTBALLERS

1 LIONEL MESSI (ARG)

Total earnings US$126 million

(Salary: US$92m, endorsements: US$34m)

2 CRISTIANO RONALDO (POR)

Total earnings US$117 million

(S: US$70m, E: US$47m)

3 NEYMAR (BRA)

Total earnings US$96 million

(S: US$78m, E: US$18m)

4 KYLIAN MBAPPE (FRA)

Total earnings US$42 million

(S: US$28m, E: US$14m)

5 MOHAMED SALAH (EGY)

Total earnings US$37 million

(S: US$24m, E: US$13m)

6 PAUL POGBA (FRA)

Total earnings US$34 million

(S: US$28m, E: US$6m)

7 ANTOINE GRIEZMANN (FRA)

Total earnings US$33 million

(S: US$28m, E: US$5m)

8 GARETH BALE (WAL)

Total Earnings US$29 million

(S: US$23m, E: US$6m)

9 ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (POL)

Total earnings US$28 million

(S: US$24m, E: US$4m)

10 DAVID DE GEA (ESP)

Total earnings US$27 million

(S: US$24m, E: US$3m)

1 US$=S$1.36

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2020, with the headline 'Messi trumps Ronaldo in battle of millionaires'. Print Edition | Subscribe