Skip to main content
Publish date:

Ronaldo Passes Messi on Forbes' List of Highest-Paid Soccer Players

Cristiano Ronaldo keeps on winning—or earning, at the very least.

Forbes announced that the Manchester United star has passed Lionel Messi as the world's highest-paid soccer player with earnings of roughly $125 million. Ronaldo, who is the first team-sport athlete ever to make more than $1 billion in pre-tax career earnings, earns $70 million in wages and a whopping $55 million from endorsement deals. 

Bolstered by his own brand of perfume, underwear, eyewear, hotels and gyms, Ronaldo only trails Conor McGregor ($158 million), Roger Federer ($90 million), LeBron James ($65 million) and Tiger Woods ($60 million) in off-field earnings, according to Forbes

Despite a new three-year endorsement deal with Budweiser, Messi drops into second at $110 million after his summer move to Paris Saint-Germain, where he earns less in on-field earnings than the $97 million he did last season at Barcelona. Still, his $75 million in on-field earnings ties him with PSG teammate Neymar as soccer's top on-field earner, comparable to Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who had the most on-field earnings of any athlete in the world last year at $97.5 million.

SI Recommends

Neymar, who comes in at third on the list at $95 million, also makes more than Ronaldo on the field but pales in comparison to Ronaldo's endorsements. The Brazilian star left Nike for Puma following accusations of sexual assault from a Nike employee but saw his endorsements grow when he logged off TikTok to sign an exclusive deal to make video content for Triller. 

PSG currently holds three of the world's four highest-paid players with Kylian Mbappé earning $43 million a year. However, the 22-year-old FIFA cover star has refused to sign a new contract at PSG that would've seen his earnings of $28 million nearly triple with rumors of a future move to Real Madrid still swirling

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah fills out the top five at $41 million. But perhaps the most surprising name on the list comes seventh in former Barcelona star Andrés Iniesta. The 37-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with Japanese club Vissel Kobe in the spring, which saw his on-field earnings jump to $31 million. 

More Soccer Coverage: