Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Lead Forbes Highest Paid Athlete List

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Lead Forbes Highest Paid Athlete List

Lionel Messi has topped Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes as soccer players dominated the podium in 2019.

For the first time ever, FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi occupies top position at the summit of the world's 10 highest-paid athletes ranking after replacing boxer Floyd Mayweather, who occupied top position last year and four times in the past seven years.

Messi is now ahead of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the Juventus and Portugal star is was second with earnings of United States dollars 109 million.

Athletes had to earn a minimum of $37.7 million to make this year's list. Earnings listed are for the period 1 June 2018 to 1 June 2019.

Canelo, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked a very lucrative deal last October, signing a five-year 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth $365 million.

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Of the global icons Messi has out earned this year include Tennis legend Roger Federer and Basketball superstars Lebron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

Stars from the National Football League and NBA rounded out the top 10 on the list, with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sixth on $89.5 million, just ahead of Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers ($89.3 million). He earned $7.4 million in salary/winnings, but picked up a colossal $86 million in endorsements, the most of any athlete on the list.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was the highest earning National Basketball Association player, with $89m, while Golden State's Stephen Curry was ninth with $79.8m.

Meanwhile, just one female athlete made it into the Top 100, with Serena Williams listed at No. 63 ($29.2 million).

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