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Lionel Messi tops the list of the top paid athletes for 2022

Ryan Sidle

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Lionel Messi tops the list of the top paid athletes for 2022

Lionel Messi topped the list for the highest paid athletes of the year, leaving Cristiano Ronaldo in the dust, even before his departure from Manchester United.

The two most recognisable stars in football, across the world, have often been competing both on and off the pitch for accolades.

To many Messi ended the debate about who is the greatest of all time, when he lifted the World Cup earlier this month, winning the Golden Ball award for the best player at the tournament.

He may end up picking up another golden ball trophy next year, with Robert Lewandowski claiming that France Football should just give the Argentina star his eighth Ballon d'Or now.

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In contrast, it was a pretty poor tournament for his rival Ronaldo, even though the Portugal star became the first man to score at five of the tournaments.

He was dropped for his side's knockout games, seeing his replacement score a hat-trick in the last 16, and is now out of work, after his contract with United was terminated.

Despite that, Ronaldo still came in third for the highest paid athlete of 2022, according to Forbes list, although that was decided before he left Old Trafford.

Messi tops the list, with Ronaldo split from his fellow footballer by basketball's biggest star LeBron James.

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo - NBA - Milwaukee Bucks - $80.9 million

9. Tom Brady - NFL - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - $83.9 million

8. Canelo Alvarez - boxing - Mexico - $90 million

7. Roger Federer - tennis - Switzerland - $90.7 million

6. Kevin Durant - NBA - Brooklyn Nets - $92.1 million

Durant is one of four NBA stars on the list. Image: Alamy
Durant is one of four NBA stars on the list. Image: Alamy

5. Steph Curry - NBA - Golden State Warriors - $92.8 million

4. Neymar - Ligue 1 - PSG/Brazil - $95 million

3. Cristiano Ronaldo - football - Portugal - $115 million

2. LeBron James - NBA - LA Lakers - $121.2 million

1. Lionel Messi - Ligue 1 - PSG/Argentina - $130 million

Messi is number one, according to most metrics. Image: Alamy
Messi is number one, according to most metrics. Image: Alamy

The results of this year's list from Forbes was certainly a defeat for UFC star Conor McGregor who went from top of the 10 to not even on the list.

In 2021 the Irishman had fought Dustin Poirier twice but most of his money came from selling whiskey company Proper Twelve.

This year he has not made it back to the octagon, having broken his leg during the second defeat to Poirier, and all his fights have been on social media instead.

Lewis Hamilton was the other huge name to drop off the top 10, although the Formula One legend is reportedly the second highest earning driver of all time.

Messi's wealth is only likely to sky rocket following his World Cup victory, although it's doubtful he'll make any money from his hotel room in Qatar being made into a museum.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: NBA, Basketball, Tennis, NFL, American Football, Football, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lebron James, Roger Federer, Paris Saint-Germain

Ryan Sidle
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