Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken Lionel Messi as the highest earning soccer player in the world.
That’s according to Forbes, which reports that the Portuguese forward will earn $125 million this season — $15 million more than his Argentine rival.
Ronaldo left Juventus to rejoin former club Manchester United this summer, signing a two-year deal that will see him pocket a reported $70 million in wages and bonuses annually.
On top of that, Forbes reports that the 36-year-old will earn $55 million from personal endorsements and partnerships with brands such as Nike and Herbalife, as well his own CR7-branded portfolio that includes hotels, gyms, perfumes, and more.
According to Forbes, only three other active athletes in the world make more commercially than Ronaldo in the coming year.
Roger Federer will top the pile, making $90 million, while LeBron James and Tiger Woods are close behind, likely to take home $65 million and $60 million respectively.
Messi’s drop into second place in Forbes’ soccer rich list comes after his summer move to Paris Saint-Germain, which saw him take a $22 million pay-cut in wages from his final season at FC Barcelona.
Though the 34-year-old’s $75 million annual salary still makes him the world’s highest earner on the pitch, his off-field earnings pale in comparison to Ronaldo’s, even despite a new three-year endorsement deal with Budweiser.
Messi’s PSG teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe sit third and fourth in Forbes’ list respectively, while Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah comes in fifth.
Robert Lewandowski, Andres Iniesta, Paul Pogba, Gareth Bale, and Eden Hazard complete the top 10.
Cristiano Ronaldo reclaimed the top spot of being the highest-paid soccer player. The world’s two top soccer players have flipped spots and wear new jerseys but have familiar paychecks, earning a combined $235 million this season https://t.co/uZsJZLaqB6 pic.twitter.com/3dOeqTAmLn— Forbes (@Forbes) September 21, 2021
Ronaldo has enjoyed a fine start to his second spell at Old Trafford, scoring four goals in just three matches for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
He hit two on his second United debut in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United, before scoring again in a 2-1 defeat to BSC Young Boys in the Champions League. On Sunday, he levelled the scores as United produced a hard-fought comeback victory over West Ham United.
Messi, on the other hand, has endured a difficult start to life in Paris.
Since being forced out of Barcelona due to the club’s disastrous financial problems, the Argentina international is yet to score or register an assist in three matches for his new team.