The show business Paris has once again placed Lionel Messi as the highest-earning athlete of the year worldwide. This is confirmed by Forbes magazine in its annual ranking of “Highest Paid Athletes” for 2022, in which the Argentine striker occupies the top with 130 million dollars, returning to the position of honor that he had last held in 2019.
According to the specialized magazine, although Messi receives an annual salary of almost 22 million dollars less (75 million in total) at PSG, a team he moved to last summer from Barcelona, his sponsorship portfolio helps him with an estimated income at 55 million, which represents 42% of his total salary in the last 12 months.
the ranking Forbes of the 10 highest paid athletes in the world was first published in 2012 and Lionel Messi has appeared consecutively since the 2013 edition; in fact, in the list immediately above, in 2021, he also generated 130 million dollars, but was relegated to second place by the Irish fighter Connor McGregorwho rose to the top thanks to the high sales of his whiskey.
Messi he has only played 63% of the possible minutes in the current season with the PSG in all competitions, however, it continues to demonstrate its potential as a brand and even in new lines of business, having signed a deal worth $20 million a year with Socios, a technology-based fan engagement app, in March. blockchain.
The Argentine attacker has been in the Top 3 of the athletes with the best income in Forbes since the 2016 edition, although only in 2019 and 2022 has it appeared in first place, its maximum figure being 130 million dollars in both years.
The second on the list is the basketball player LeBron James, from the Los Angeles Lakers, with 121.2 million dollars. The four-time NBA MVP closed out 2021 and started 2022 signing new endorsement deals, so it didn’t bother him that much that his team was left out of the most recent playoffs.
James starred in the second iteration of the movie Space Jam (A New Legacy) last year, moved his talk show, The Shop, from HBO to YouTube and sold a minority stake in SpringHill, the production company behind both projects, at a valuation. of around 725 million dollars, all in 2021. Already in January 2022, it announced a sponsorship agreement with Crypto.com and also invested in the gym company Tonal and StatusPRO, a sports technology startup that creates fitness training products. virtual reality.
After Messi and james shows up Cristiano Ronaldo with 115 million dollars, of which 47% (55 million) come from his earnings off the court. Much of the Manchester United striker’s buying power comes from his massive social media presence, where he has more than 690 million followers across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, allowing him to demand increasingly higher fees from sponsors such as Nike and Herbalife.
The fourth place in the ranking is occupied by the Brazilian footballer Neymar, teammate of Lionel Messi at PSG. The Amazonian entered 95 million dollars and although most of that figure (70 million) comes from his salary with the French team, he also boasts two new important business relationships in his career: one with Netflix, after the release of his docuseries Neymar: The Perfect Chaos and another with the NFTSTAR platform, focused on the production and sale of NFTs.
In fifth and sixth place are other basketball players: Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, with 92.8 million dollars; Y Kevin Durantof the Brooklyn Nets, with 92.1 million.
Seventh place goes to the multi-champion Grand Slam tennis player, the Swiss Roger Federer, with 90.7 million dollars (of which 90 come from his business ties), while the last three positions in the Top 10 are occupied by the Mexican boxer Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez (90 million), American quarterback Tom Brady (83.9 million) and Greek basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo (80.9 million), who made his debut in the ranking after being NBA champion in 2021 with Milwaukee Bucks.
“Canelo” Álvarez is the only Mexican athlete to have appeared in the Forbes ranking since its inception, although this is only his second appearance after 2019, where he ranked fourth with $94 million, the product of matchups against lucrative rivals such as Gennady Golovkin and Rocky Fielding.
Now as a free agent, the boxer from Jalisco reached the figure of 90 million dollars with the income of only two fights, according to the records of Forbes: against Billy Joe Saunders in May and against Caleb Plant in November 2021, since the magazine did not count the earnings of the matchup against Dmitry Bivol in this 2022.
Among the sources of income that “Canelo” has improved in the last 12 months, Forbes also highlights that he has a partnership with Hennessy and owns a taco restaurant in Mexican territory, with expansion plans in California. Additionally, Canelo Promotions, his personal promoter, is putting on a series of fights in Mexico alongside Matchroom Boxing and DAZN.
The Top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world raised $992 million in the last 12 months, which represents a drop of 6% compared to the accumulated 2021. However, the figure for 2022 is the third highest in history , behind 2021’s 1.05 billion and 2018’s 1.06 billion, which were led by Connor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr., respectively.