Barcelona’s Lionel Messi overtakes Cristiano Ronaldo on Forbes rich list

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Barcelona star Lionel Messi has moved above Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the rankings in the annual Forbes list of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes but football lost top spot to boxing’s Floyd Mayweather.

Messi, with earnings of £82.9 million, occupies second spot behind Mayweather, with Ronaldo in third on £80.6m.

His move above Ronaldo comes after he signed a new contract at the Camp Nou, with Brazil star Neymar (£67.2m) now in fifth place following his world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

Forbes said Messi’s annual salary and bonus was more than £59m before tax, making him the year’s highest-paid player, with endorsement deals with companies including Adidas and Pepsi adding to his fortune.

Ronaldo has a place in the list’s top three for a sixth successive year, while Neymar has risen 13 places to fifth after putting pen to paper on a lucrative five-year contract with PSG.

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