sport’s highest-paid athletes, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Stephen Curry

Lionel Messi has returned to the top of the world’s highest paid athletes list.

The football legend has endured a tough first season at Paris Saint-Germain following his shock Barcelona exit – but it hasn’t impacted his bank account.

Messi is the highest paid athlete for 2022, according to Forbes’ annual rich list.

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Messi’s return to the top comes despite estimates that his salary has dropped around $ 22 million with PSG from his previous deal with Barcelona. However, he has picked up a huge boost in earnings through sponsorships.

The Argentine megastar has jumped former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor – who has completely vanished from the rich list’s top ten.

Other notable absentees this time around include F1 pair Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, Naomi Osaka, Tiger Woods, Tyson Fury and Kylian Mbappe, The Sun reports.

McGregor last year raked in the cash through the sale of his Proper No. Twelve whiskey label.

McGregor has claimed the sale was worth up to a staggering $ 150 million.

Forbes revealed on Thursday night (AEST) McGregor will still feature in the Top 50 list to be announced later this month.

His recent earnings come through his July fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.

Remember Conor McGregor? Photo by Stacy Revere / Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

NFL quarterback Dak Prescott has also disappeared from the list after being the No. 4 overall highest paid athlete in 2021.

Hamilton has also dropped out of the top ten after he was the No. 8 overall ranked athlete last year.

At the other end of the list, NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo has cracked the top ten as the only person on the list under the age of 30.

Tennis legend Roger Federer is still among the highest paid as a result of his many sponsorship deals which makes him sport’s No. 1 brand ambassador.

The other big move has been LeBron James’ jump up to the No. 2 overall spot.

The Lakers superstar has set a new record for annual earnings in the NBA.

His earnings on the 2021 list came in at a record $ 96.5 million.

The publication reports he has “crushed” his own record this year with a staggering haul of more than $ 121 million.
It comes at the same time as Sportico has released its own rich list rankings.

The sports-business publication has revealed Osaka is again the world’s highest earning female athlete of the past 12 months with a staggering haul of more than $ 53 million.

Naomi Osaka. Photo by Clive Brunskill / Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

She earned an estimated $ 52 million in sponsorship deals with on-court prize money worth just $ 1.2 million.

Osaka is still the top earning female athlete despite her recent grand slam performances resulting in a third round exit from the 2022 Australian Open, a third round exit at the US Open, her stunning decision to quit the 2021 French Open citing mental health reasons and her decision to pull out of Wimbledon in 2021.

Despite being the top female athlete earner of the past 12 months, Sportico ranks her just the No. 20 overall athlete, highlighting the disparity between men and women.

Forbes highest earning athletes top ten list

Neymar and Lionel Messi have not been the cheat code everyone expected at PSG. Photo by Patrick HERTZOG / AFP.Source: AFP

1 – Lionel Messi, $ 130m

2 – LeBron James, $ 121m

3 – Crisiano Ronaldo, $ 115m

4 – Neymar – 95m

5 – Stephen Curry, $ 93m

6 – Kevin Durant, $ 92m

7 – Roger Federer, $ 91m

8 – Canelo Alvarez, $ 90m

9 – Tom Brady, $ 84m

10 – Giannis Antetokounmpo, $ 81m

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