According to Forbes, the Argentina international raked in an astonishing $126million this year, $92m of which was paid to him by Barcelona, while he earned a whopping $34m through commercial endorsements and activities.
While Ronaldo continues to boast more followers on social media, the 35-year-old had to settle for second place on Forbes’ list having earned $117m over the course of the last 12 months.
The Premier League is represented the top 10 by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah ($37m) as well as Manchester United duo Paul Pogba ($34m) and David de Gea ($27m) who ended months of uncertainty surrounding his future by signing a new long-term contract earlier this year.
Champions League winner and Bayern Munich kingpin Robert Lewandowski is the Bundesliga’s only representative, meanwhile, and Gareth Bale makes the list despite having been frozen out at Real Madrid by his manager Zinedine Zidane.
Forbes | Top 10 wealthiest footballers
Lionel Messi, Barcelona: $126m
Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus: $117m
Neymar, PSG: $96m
Kylian Mbappe, PSG: $42m
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool: $37m
Paul Pogba, Man United: $34m
Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona: $33m
Gareth Bale, Real Madrid: $29m
Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich: $28m
David de Gea, Manchester United: $27m
Messi will reluctantly remain at Barcelona this season after he was forced into making a dramatic U-turn having handed in a shock transfer request last month.
The 33-year-old had grown disillusioned with the club’s hierarchy and president Josep Bartomeu in particular. Messi’s dissatisfaction boiled over following an historic 8-2 Champions League defeat against Bayern and had spoken with Pep Guardiola about a possible move to Manchester City.
‘I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not,’ he said in an interview earlier this month.
‘Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
‘And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million (£624m/$823m) clause, and that this is impossible.
‘There was another way and it was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, which gave me everything since I arrived. ‘It is the club of my life, I have made my life here.’