LONDON. — Lionel Messi has retained his place at the top of Forbes’ list of highest-paid footballers after earning US$126 million (£98m) over the past year, with Cristiano Ronaldo closely behind him in second.
The Barcelona superstar sent shockwaves through world football last month when he told the club he has spent his entire career at he wanted to leave after a trophyless campaign in 2019-20.
Messi believed he could use a clause in his contract to leave for free, but Barca and La Liga disputed that claim and insisted his deal could only be terminated should his release clause be paid.
Forbes’ top 10 highest-paid footballers:
1. Lionel Messi — $126m (£98m)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo — $117m (£91m)
3. Neymar — $96m (£74.7m)
4. Kylian Mbappe — $42m (£32.6m)
5. Mohamed Salah — $37m (£28.8m)
6. Paul Pogba — $34m (£26.5m)
7. Antoine Griezmann — $33m (£25.7m)
8. Gareth Bale — $29m (£22.6m)
9. Robert Lewandowski — $28m (£21.8m)
10. David De Gea — $27m (£21m)