Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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LIONEL MESS TOPS FORBES WORLD’S HIGHEST-PAID ATHLETES

Elite athletes are earning more than ever thanks to soaring salaries driven by ever-richer TV contracts. The cutoff to crack the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes is $25 million this year, compared with $17.3 million five years ago.

Forbes has tracked the leading earners in sports for three decades, and only seven athletes have landed in the top spot since 1990 (Tiger Woods holds the record with 12 times at No. 1). Global soccer icon Lionel Messi adds an eighth name to the roll call this year and, after longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, is only the second soccer player to rank first.

The top 100 spans 10 sports and includes athletes from 25 countries. Their $4 billion in combined earnings from prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019 is up 5% from last year when Floyd Mayweather was first with $285 million.

Here is the top 10:

Rank, Name, Total Earnings in $mil

1 Lionel Messi 127
2 Cristiano Ronaldo 109
3 Neymar 105
4 Canelo Alvarez 94
5 Roger Federer 93.4
6 Russell Wilson 89.5
7 Aaron Rodgers 89.3
8 LeBron James 89
9 Stephen Curry 79.8
10 Kevin Durant 65.4

“The global impact of soccer is clearly reflected in earnings in 2019, with the top three athletes on the list being Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar,” said Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor, Forbes Media. “But basketball players continue to dominate the top 100 overall with 35 athletes on the list earning a total of $1.29 billion, with 72% of that income coming from salaries rather than endorsement deals.”


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