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Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Lionel Messi in Forbes' list of best-paid footballer

Messi's PSG colleagues Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are third and fourth on the list, with the Brazilian signing a new £54.95 million-a-year contract in May, which means he earns the same basic income and incentives as Messi.

Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Lionel Messi in Forbes' list of best-paid footballer gcw
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Washington D.C., First Published Sep 22, 2021, 6:22 PM IST
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Cristiano Ronaldo has eclipsed Lionel Messi as the highest-paid footballer globally, with the Manchester United star expected to earn £91.5 million this season. Ronaldo and Messi, two of the most recognised players in history, moved to Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively, this summer during a record-breaking transfer window. Messi's transfer to French giants PSG may see him earn £80.5 million this season, although he falls far short of Portuguese great Ronaldo, 36, who returned to Manchester after 12 years away.

Ronaldo's Red Devils contract may pay him £51.25 million in base salary and performance-related bonuses, with the remainder coming from sponsorships, including sponsorship.

Meanwhile, Argentina's Messi has a greater base income and bonus structure than Ronaldo, earning £54.94 million per year, but he only receives £25.6 million in annual sponsorship revenues, compared to Ronaldo's £40 million. Had Messi stayed at previous club Barcelona this summer – the Spanish giants allowed him depart on a free transfer because they couldn't afford to keep him – he would have easily been declared Forbes' highest-paid footballer, with his total earnings in Spain sitting at £95.24 million per year.

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Barcelona offered the 34-year-old a £71 million-a-year contract last season, but the Catalans let him leave soon before disclosing a £1.15 billion debt last month. Despite receiving fresh new arrangements due to their transfers, Messi and Ronaldo will earn less this season than in prior years. Ronaldo finished only behind Messi on last season's list, which was released in May of this year, with a total potential deal of £87.91 million, including sponsorships.

Messi's PSG colleagues Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are third and fourth on the list, with the Brazilian signing a new £54.95 million-a-year contract in May, which means he earns the same basic income and incentives as Messi.

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However, Neymar earns significantly less money in endorsement payments than Messi, with the Brazilian making £14.65 million in this area.
Mbappe's deal with PSG ends at the end of the season, and he makes £31.5 million each season, including £20.5 million from PSG. Mohamed Salah is the Premier League's second-highest-paid player, trailing only Cristiano Ronaldo, with Liverpool's Egyptian star poised to make £30 million per year in total, with the majority of that amount coming in salary and incentives.

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