In Brief

In pictures: world’s top ten highest-paid footballers in 2020

There’s a familiar face at No.1, but who else is on the Forbes football rich list?

Lionel Messi’s future has been the talk of world football in recent months with the Argentine confirming he will stay with FC Barcelona after initially handing in a transfer request.

The 33-year-old had informed the Spanish club that he wanted to leave by exercising a clause in his contract that would allow him to depart on a free transfer, the BBC reported. 

However, Barcelona confirmed that his €700m (£624m) release clause would have to be met and Messi decided to stay because it was “impossible” for any buyers to pay the fee and he also did not want a legal battle against the club he loves. 

With his contract expiring in the summer of 2021, Messi’s future will remain the hot topic for the gossip columns. But while his football future is up in the air, he definitely doesn’t need to worry about his financial future. 

Forbes magazine has released its rich list of the top ten highest-paid footballers in 2020 and it is Messi who leads the way ahead of great rival Cristiano Ronaldo. 

Messi becomes football’s second billionaire after Ronaldo had previously achieved the feat, says the Daily Mail, and is set to earn a total $126m (£97.7m) through salary and endorsements this year.

The superstar duo take the top two spots but who else joins them in the top ten? 

Forbes football rich list: highest-paid players of 2020

All USD to GBP conversion rates as of 15 September 2020.

Lionel Messi has won a record sixth Ballon d’Or award

Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images

1. Lionel Messi

Teams: Barcelona and Argentina 2020 total earnings: $126m (£97.7m)  Salary: $92m (£71.37m) Endorsements: $34m (£26.37m) 

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his second goal against Switzerland

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

2. Cristiano Ronaldo 

Teams: Juventus and Portugal 2020 total earnings: $117m (£90.75m)  Salary: $70m (£54.29m) Endorsements: $47m (£36.45m) 

Neymar, Bayern, PSG
3. Neymar 

Teams: Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil Total earnings: $96m (£74.45m)  Salary: $78m (£60.49m) Endorsements: $18m (£13.95m) 

PSG striker Kylian Mbappe won the 2018 Fifa World Cup with France

Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

4. Kylian Mbappe 

Teams: Paris Saint-Germain and France  2020 total earnings: $42m (£32.57m)  Salary: $28m (£21.71m) Endorsements: $14m (£10.85m) 

Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool’s second goal against Manchester United

Michael Regan/Getty Images

5. Mohamed Salah 

Teams: Liverpool and Egypt 2020 total earnings: $37m (£28.69m)  Salary: $24m (£18.61m) Endorsements: $13m (£10.08m) 

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba won the 2018 World Cup with France

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

6. Paul Pogba

Teams: Manchester United and France 2020 total earnings: $34m (£26.37m)  Salary: $28m (£21.72m) Endorsements: $6m (£4.65m) 

Antoine Griezmann was a World Cup winner with France at the 2018 finals in Russia

Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

7. Antoine Griezmann 

Teams: Barcelona and France 2020 total earnings: $33m (£25.59m)  Salary: $28m (£21.72m) Endorsements: $5m (£3.87m) 

Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale scored a stunning goal in the 2018 Champions League final victory against Liverpool

Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

8. Gareth Bale 

Teams: Real Madrid and Wales 2020 total earnings: $29m (£22.49m) Salary: $23m (£17.84m) Endorsements: $6m (£4.65m) 

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski is linked with a move away from Bayern Munich

Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

9. Robert Lewandowski 

Teams: Bayern Munich and Poland 2020 total earnings: $28m (£21.71m) Salary: $24m (£18.61m) Endorsements: $4m (£3.1m) 

Manchester United and Spain goalkeeper David de Gea

Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images

10. David de Gea 

Teams: Manchester United and Spain 2020 total earnings: £27m (£20.94m) Salary: $24m (£18.61m) Endorsements: $3m (£2.32m)


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