In Brief

Forbes 2019 sport rich list: Lionel Messi beats Cristiano Ronaldo to No.1 spot

Top 100 highest-paid athletes earn a combined £3.14bn in the past 12 months

Forbes magazine has published its list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2019 and there’s some familiar names in the top ten.

Calculating combined earnings - prize money, salaries and endorsements - from June 2018 to June 2019, Forbes’s top 100 rich list features ten sports and athletes from 25 countries.

Forbes writer Kurt Badenhausen reports that the cut-off to break into the top 100 was $25m (£19.6m) this year, compared to $17.3m (£13.6m) five years ago.

The combined earnings for this year’s top 100 was $4bn (£3.14bn) - an increase of 5% from 2018.

American boxer Floyd Mayweather finished No.1 in 2018 with earnings of $285m (£224.2m) and this year it’s football that dominates the top spots.

Barcelona and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi takes the No.1 spot after earning $127m (£99.9m) in the past 12 months. The 31-year-old’s combined total includes a salary/winnings of $92m (£72.3) and $35m (£27.5m) in endorsements.

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s great rival, is second on the list after earning $109m (£85.7m). The Portugal captain was No.1 in 2016 and 2017.

Neymar, the Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward, is third with $105m (£82.6m). Completing the top ten are boxer Canelo Alvarez, tennis star Roger Federer, NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, and NBA stars LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

Serena Williams is the highest-paid female athlete on the list after earning $29.2m (£22.9m). The American tennis star is joint-63rd in the top-100 ranking.

Only seven athletes have topped the Forbes list since 1990. US golf icon Tiger Woods has finished No.1 a record 12 times.

2019 highest-paid athletes: the top ten

Prize money, salaries and endorsements from June 2018 to June 2019, according to Forbes.

  • 1. Lionel Messi (football): $127m (£99.9m) 
  • 2. Cristiano Ronaldo (football): $109m (£85.7m) 
  • 3. Neymar (football): $105m (£85.7m) 
  • 4. Canelo Alvarez (boxing): $94m (£73.9m) 
  • 5. Roger Federer (tennis): $93.4m (£73.4m) 
  • 6. Russell Wilson (NFL): $89.5m (£70.4m) 
  • 7. Aaron Rodgers (NFL): $89.3m (£70.2m) 
  • 8. LeBron James (NBA): $89m (£70m) 
  • 9. Stephen Curry (NBA): $79.8m (£62.7m) 
  • 10. Kevin Durant (NBA): $65.4m (£51.4)

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