Lionel Messi, Argentina and Paris Saint
Germain football star, is the highest-paid athlete in the world, according to
Forbes which announced its annual list of richest athletes for 2022. Messi’s
total earnings are $130 million this year. Messi toppled legendary Basketball
star, LeBron James and Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo to top the list
on Wednesday.

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Forbes releases the list every year for the
12-month cycle from last year, which ended on May 1, 2022.

In the last cycle, in 2021, Messi was
second behind MMA fighter Conor McGregor, but after his transfer to PSG from
Barcelona last summer, he has topped the list once again. Having fetched a
hefty deal with PSG in 2021, Messi also signed a mammoth $55 million in
endorsements. This was despite his salary being cut by some $22 million from
his final year with Barcelona.

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“Although Forbes estimates that Messi’s
salary is down some $22 million from his final year with Barcelona—to $75
million this season at PSG—a major boost in endorsements helps him equal the
record 12-month total for a soccer player he posted last year, when he finished
No. 2 to MMA fighter Conor McGregor,” the American business magazine stated.

With $121 million earning, Los Angeles
Lakers LeBron James is a distant second. In the process, James shattered his
own record of last year, having amassed a fortune of $96.5, which was the then
highest sum for an NBA player.

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The third position is grabbed by Portugal
and Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo who recorded a total earning of
$115 million.

The fourth and fifth places are occupied by
Messi’s PSG teammate Neymar ($95 million), and three-time NBA champion Stephen
Curry ($92.8 million).

Also Read: Lionel Messi’s transformation to a free-roaming attacking midfielder in PSG

NBA legend Kevin Durant finished sixth ($92
million), while Roger Federer is the only tennis player to finish seventh on
the list with $90.7 million.

Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez ($90 million),
seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady ($83.9 million) and former NBA finals
MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo ($80.9 million) rounded off the top 10.