Ronaldo replaces Messi at top of Forbes rich list

Ballon d'Or Leak - Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are top contenders

In an absolute shocker of a move, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to Manchester United earlier this summer, signing a two-year deal with his former club. To commemorate the most bizarre transfer window in recent years, Lionel Messi also swapped clubs, departing Barcelona for the riches of Paris Saint-Germain.

While these switches were bound to revamp their wage structure, the recent update has caused a massive upturn in the list of the highest-earning footballers. According to Forbes, Ronaldo has overtaken his eternal rival Messi in the financial aspect.

As per the American business magazine Forbes, the Portuguese superstar is set to earn $125m in the ongoing season, with $70m of this colossal amount being paid by his new employers, Manchester United.

Messi, who topped the previous version of this list, slips to second place with a reported earning of $110m in the 2021-22 season. While an annual wage of $75m is still a sizeable amount, the reduction from his Barcelona salary causes Messi to lose his position as the highest-paid footballer.

Although a United star tops the said list, cash-laden PSG have the next three entries, with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe closely following their latest teammate.

Ronaldo’s reported $55m earnings from endorsements makes him the fourth most paid athlete in the advertisement sector. He is preceded by Tiger Woods ($60m), LeBron James ($65m) and Roger Federer ($90m).