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Cristiano Ronaldo has surpassed Lionel Messi as the highest-paid footballer according to Forbes.
Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United earlier this summer in an utter surprise of a move, signing a two-year contract with his old club. Lionel Messi left Barcelona for the riches of Paris Saint-Germain to mark the most unusual transfer window in recent years.
While these changes were inevitably going to change their pay structure, the most recent update has resulted in a significant increase on the list of the highest-paid footballers. According to Forbes, Ronaldo has surpassed his long-time rival Messi in terms of wealth.
After returning to Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to earn $125 million (£91.63 million) before taxes in the 2021-22 season, while Lionel Messi is expected to earn $110 million (£80.63 million) this season after joining Paris Saint-Germain.
According to Forbes, Ronaldo would earn $125 million (£91.63 million) before taxes in the 2021-22 season after returning to Manchester United, with $70 million (£51.31 million) coming from his salary and bonuses at Old Trafford.
Only three athletes are expected to earn more from sponsorship than the 36-year-old: Roger Federer ($90 million, £65.97 million), LeBron James ($65 million, £47.64 million), and Tiger Woods ($60 million, £43.98 million).
Despite signing a lucrative contract with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Messi, who topped the standings last year, drops to second.
According to Forbes, the former Barcelona player will make $110 million (£80.63 million) this season, with $75 million (£50 million) coming from his salary and bonuses at Parc des Princes.
Messi’s club teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, meanwhile, are third and fourth on the list.
In the 2021-22 season, Neymar is predicted to make $95 million (£69.68 million), while Mbappe is expected to earn $43 million (£31.54 million).
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool is fifth in the rankings with a salary of $41 million (£30.6 million), while Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich is sixth with a salary of $35 million (£25.66 million).
Former Barcelona player Andres Iniesta is rated seventh on the list with earnings of $35 million (£25.66 million), the majority of which comes from his pay and bonuses at Vissel Kobe in Japan.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is ranked eighth on the list, with a salary of $34 million (£24.92 million), while Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is ninth on the list, with a salary of $32 million (£23.46 million).
Former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, who is projected to earn $29 million (£21.26 million) in the 2021-22 season, completes the top ten.