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Revealed: The astonishing amounts Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi made last year

Cristiano Ronaldo became the highest-paid athlete for the first time since 2017, overtaking Lionel Messi at the top of the rankings thanks largely to his move to Al-Nassr.

The Portuguese striker left Manchester United under a cloud in November, but joined the Saudi Arabian side in January, penning the largest contract in football history in the process.

According to reports, the contract which he signed until 2025 nets Ronaldo £62m per year base salary, but with image rights and other clauses which take the total deal to around £177m per year.

Over the last 12 months, no one has earned more than his impressive £109m over the past 12 months, despite having spent a month without a contract, and it has taken him to top spot in Forbes’ most recent rankings.

The 38-year-old sits just above rival Lionel Messi, whose time at Paris Saint Germain has earned him £104m in the same period, while in an all-football top three, his teammate Kylian Mbappe has managed £96m.

The PSG pair contested the World Cup final in December, which Messi snatched from Mbappe on penalties despite the latter netting a hat-trick for France.

World’s top 10 highest paid athletes 2023 [As per Forbes]

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, football: $136m (£108.7m)

2. Lionel Messi, football: $130m (£103.9m)

3. Kylian Mbappe, football: $120m (£95.9m)

4. LeBron James, basketball: $119.5m (£95.5m)

5. Canelo Alvarez, boxing: $110m (£87.9m)

6. Dustin Johnson, golf: $107m (£85.5m)

7. Phil Mickelson, golf: $106m (£84.7m)

8. Stephen Curry, basketball: $100.4m (£80.2m)

9. Roger Federer, tennis: $95.1m (£76m)

10. Kevin Durant, basketball: $89.1m (£71.2m)


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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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