Manchester United icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, has been named the highest-paid footballer in the year 2021, according to Forbes.
Ronaldo who left Juventus for a United reunion, returned to the top spot by beating his long-time rival on and off the pitch, Lionel Messi, with whom he earns a combined $235 million this season.
CR7 became the bestselling player with his return to Old Trafford and topped the sales of other top players who have jumped teams in recent years, including the NFL’s Tom Brady in 2020, the NBA’s LeBron James in 2018 and MLB’s Bryce Harper in 2019, including Messi who signed for Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona.
Ronaldo, 36, who is the world’s most popular athlete— with more than a combined half-billion followers across Facebook (149 million), Instagram (344 million) and Twitter (94.3 million) is set to earn $125 million before taxes in the 2021-22 season, with $70 million coming from salary and bonus for his return to United.
According to the publication, only three other active athletes make more commercially: Roger Federer ($90 million), LeBron James ($65 million) and Tiger Woods ($60 million).
#2: Messi, who after 21 years at Barcelona jumped to PSG, where he will be paid $75 million this season, helping put him at No. 2 on the list with $110 million.
#3: Neymar - $95 million - PSG
#4: Kylian Mbappe - $43 million - PSG
#5: Mohamed Salah - $41 million - Liverpool
#6: Robert Lewandowski - $35 million - Bayern Munich
#7: Andres Iniester - $35 - The Spaniard returns as the only player from a non-European team, after signing a two-year contract extension with Vissel Kobe in Japan, his club since he left Barcelona in 2018.
#8: Paul Pogba - $34 million Manchester United
#9: Gareth Bale - $32 million - Real Madrid
#10: Eden Hazard ($29 million) - Real Madrid