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Cristiano Ronaldo Overtakes Lionel Messi As World’s Highest-Earning Footballer: Forbes

Cristiano Ronaldo’s sensational return to Manchester United has seen him overtake Lionel Messi as the highest-paid footballer in the world, according to the latest rankings released by Forbes. Ronaldo 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. The 36-year-old is set to earn an estimated $55m from commercial deals. Only three other active athletes make more commercially: Roger Federer ($90 million), LeBron James ($65 million) and Tiger Woods ($60 million).

Ronaldo left Juventus in a stunning move back to United, where he had spent six years from 2003 to 2009. The Portugal star also broke the world record for most international goals this year, going past Iranian Ali Daei’s previous record of 109 goals.

Ronaldo’s Argentine rival Lionel Messi will earn $110m this season, with $75m of that figure coming from his salary and bonuses at the Parc des Princes, as per Forbes. The former Barcelona star will add an estimated $35 million in endorsements.

Messi joined PSG as a free agent this summer after Barcelona, where he had spent two decades, were unable to extend his contract due to financial constraints.

PSG now claim three of the world’s five highest-paid players, including the 29-year-old Neymar, who lands at No. 3 once again with $95 million, and the 22-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who is No. 4 with $43 million.

In total, the 10 highest-paid footballers are set to collect pre-tax earnings of around $585m this season, up from last year’s total of around $570m.

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