Earning $127 million, Lionel Messi tops Forbes list of highest paid athletes

Lionel Messi

The Barcelona megastar has pocketed a whopping £99.8 million the past year, while the Juventus forward has earned £85.6 million. Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua are the highest earning British athletes, sitting at 13th on $55m (£43.2m).

Forbes calculates the athletes' earnings by adding up their prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019. Like past year, he is the sole Indian representative and has been ranked 100th, in the list published by Forbs on June 11.

"But basketball players continue to dominate the top 100 overall, with 35 athletes on the list earning a total of $US1.29 billion, with 72% of that income coming from salaries rather than endorsement deals".

His only fight since August 2017 was an exhibition boxing bout against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in December.

However, the Indian captain has dropped 17 spots to be 100th in the rankings. This is the first time that footballers have clinched the top three spots since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990.

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Here's the top 100 in full.

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been named by Forbes magazine as the highest-earning athlete over the past year.

In the "top 10" of the classification are also football players Russell Wilson (79 million euros) and Aaron Rodgers (78.8 million euros), and NBA basketball players LeBron James (78.6 million euros), Stephen Curry (70.4 million euros) and Kevin Durant (57.7 million euros).

Meanwhile, "Canelo" Alvarez and Roger Federer complete the top five. His endorsements are worth $3 million. The fifth best paid footballer is Andrés Iniesta, whose 28.5 million Euros consist mostly of his huge contract with Japanese side Vissel Kobe. The Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star earned a total of $105 million.

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