In 2021, "Mr. Whiskey" steals the show from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. MMA star Conor McGregor surprisingly tops the "Forbes" ranking of the highest-earning athletes in the world. But Messi is back and Ronaldo is involved again. A basketball pro slides between them.
For the second time since 2019, football star Lionel Messi is number 1 in the money rankings for athletes by the business magazine "Forbes". According to the ranking, the 34-year-old Argentine earned 130 million US dollars (123.617 million euros) in the past twelve months after moving from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, which is the same as in the same period last year. The midfielder replaces mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor, who grossed $180 million the year before. The "Forbes" list is based on research by the magazine's editors and is based on estimates and is believed to be reliable.
According to "Forbes" estimates, Messi has suffered a salary loss of 22 million US dollars as a result of his move, but still gets a salary of 75 million US dollars. The Argentine earned $55 million from non-sports deals. Number two in the rankings is basketball star LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers with $121.2 million ($41.2 million/80 million) ahead of Messi's rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United with $115 million ($60 million/ 55 million).
Tennis ace Roger Federer, No. 1 in 2020, is seventh and, at $90 million, is the top-grossing non-sports leader. In total, the long-injured Swiss earned $90.7 million, including $0.7 million from tournaments.
Not only the prize money, salaries and bonus payments are included in the "Forbes" ranking, but also the income from sponsors, attendance fees and license fees for marketing products. Estimated figures are pre-tax and exclude payments to consultants and agents.