Cristiano Ronaldo replaces PSG’s Lionel Messi as highest-paid footballer in Forbes list

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Cristiano Ronaldo has leapfrogged his great rival Lionel Messi as the world’s highest-paid footballer.

According to Forbes, the Manchester United star earns approximately £91million-a-year ($125m) before taxes, with £50m of that through his wages and around £40m in sponsorship deals.

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Ronaldo, who has his own perfume, underwear, eyewear brands and hotel and gym businesses, is said to be the first athlete to ever make $1bn in pre-tax earnings.

Nevertheless, the 36-year-old still trails Conor McGregor (£116m million), Roger Federer (£66m), LeBron James (£48m) and Tiger Woods (£44m) in overall off-field earnings.

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Messi, who left boyhood club Barcelona for PSG this summer, earns around £81m-a–year through his wages and sponsorships – a decrease on last year due to the wage cut he has taken at his new club.

The Argentine’s move to PSG means the French club now hold three of the world’s four highest paid players with Neymar (£69.68m) and Kylian Mbappe (£31.54m) in third and fourth respectively.

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Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is sixth on £25m, while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah completes the top five with earnings of around £30m-a-year.

Spain legend and current Vissel Kobe star Andres Iniesta, who earns around £25.66m, is perhaps a surprise inclusion in seventh on the list.

Manchester United ace Paul Pogba is seventh on £24m-a-year, while Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is the highest-ranked British player in ninth with expected earnings of £23m.

Real Madrid and Belgium forward Eden Hazard completes the top ten on around £21m-a-year.

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