Cristiano Ronaldo tops richest male footballers in world list for 2020 ahead of Lionel Messi with staggering £85.8m – The Sun

CRISTIANO RONALDO is the highest-earning male footballer in the world, according to Forbes' annual list of the world's top-paid athletes.

The coronavirus pandemic has had an effect on superstar earning, with the collective gross of wealth across the list down by nine per cent from 2019.

But despite Ronaldo agreeing to a temporary salary cut in order to help his side Juventus through this sticky spell – he remains top dog when it comes to yearly earnings.

Tennis legend and 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is No1 on the overall list for athletes – with a number of NBA stars including Steph Curry and LeBron James also taking their places high up in the standings alongside the Portuguese.

But which other footballers made the cut alongside fellow sporting royalty? We take a look at Forbes' top ten earners in the beautiful game.

1. CRISTIANO RONALDO – £85.8million

Salary/winnings: £48.1m

Endorsements: £37.7m

Even at 35-years-old Cristiano remains a juggernaut on and off the pitch.

His 25 goals in 32 matches this season for Juventus have been pivotal in keeping Maurizio Sarri's side top of Serie A.

And as his eyewatering £37.7m in endorsements would attest to – he is worth an extraordinary amount to Nike – not to forget his CR7 pants range…

2. LIONEL MESSI – £83.4m

Salary/winnings: £57.8m

Endorsements: £25.6m

Like his old sparring partner Ronaldo, Lionel Messi remains in remarkable nick as he gets further into his thirties.

The Argentine, 32, now skippers Barcelona and is completely indispensable to them – particularly given the questionable running of the club behind the scenes in recent years.

While slightly less valuable commercially than his Juve counterpart – Messi earned more in salary than any other player on this list.

3. NEYMAR – £76.6m

Salary/winnings: £56.6m

Endorsements: £20m

Neymar, 28, remains the most expensive player of all time in a record likely to last a very long time – particularly given Covid-19.

The £200million-man appears desperate to return to Barcelona to play alongside Messi and Co, despite being paid extremely handsomely by his current employers – and Nike.

What can be forgotten is that, despite the circus that seems to follow him around, Neymar has been really good for Paris Saint-Germain when able to take to the pitch – scoring 13 goals in 15 Ligue 1 outings this term.

4. MOHAMED SALAH – £28.2m

Salary/winnings: £18.5m

Endorsements: £9.7m

Nobody comes even remotely close to the undisputed top three on this list – but Liverpool icon Mohamed Salah is the best of the rest.

The 27-year-old has been an unbelievable success on Merseyside – netting 91 goals and laying on 37 assists in 144 outings under Jurgen Klopp.

The first Adidas athlete to feature on this list, Salah scored in last year's Champions League final, and is set to be worth even more commercially when the Reds eventually get to seal this year's title.

5. KYLIAN MBAPPE – £27.1m

Salary/winnings: £16.7m

Endorsements: £10.4m

The youngest player on this list at just 21, Kylian Mbappe appears to have the world at his feet.

Paris Saint-Germain and Nike have so far tied down the French flyer, with the latter even developing a KM range to maximise his earning potential.

Whether or not he decides to stay in the French capital for years to come, Mbappe is the player further down this list that you feel could challenge those top three in years to come.

6. ANDRES INIESTA – £23.7m

Salary/winnings: £21.3m

Endorsements: £2.4m

At 36, Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta is happily playing out the remainder of his career in Japan… and being paid handsomely for it too.

Vissel Kobe are sponsored by Japanese online retailer Rakuten – as are Iniesta's former employers in Catalonia.

Previously a Nike athlete, Iniesta is now kitted out by Asics – who also design Vissel Kobe's kits.

7. MESUT OZIL – £23m

Salary/winnings: £18.6m

Endorsements: £4.4m

With star player Mesut Ozil's contract running into its final few months, and Alexis Sanchez having just departed the club – Arsenal handed the German a lucrative pay rise back in February 2018.

While undoubtedly talented, and still capable of flashes of sheer genius, Ozil's salary has seemed something of a nuisance ever since – as his importance to the side has diminished.

Now 31, the World Cup winner – kitted out by Adidas – is contracted for one more year at the Emirates.

8. PAUL POGBA – £22.8m

Salary/winnings: £18.5m

Endorsements: £4.3m

Paul Pogba has been dogged by injuries this season – limiting him to just eight appearances in the 2019-20 season to date.

The 27-year-old remains a marketing powerhouse, however, and is one of Adidas' most valuable assets.

While he remains sidelined his star power has begun to wane – but a mooted move to Real Madrid could be just the thing to kick-start his marketing value.

9. OSCAR – £22m

Salary/winnings: £20.7m

Endorsements: £1.3m

A forgotten man to many English football fans, Oscar has been doing just fine since his January 2017 departure from the Premier League.

The Brazilian was part of the Shanghai SIPG side that finally ended Guangzhou Evergrande's stranglehold over the Chinese Super League back in 2018.

Having featured on fewer TV screens around the world since the move, however, his earnings from endorsements are comfortably the fewest of this top ten.

10. ANTOINE GRIEZMANN – £21.4m

Salary/winnings: £17m

Endorsements: £4.4m

Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona for around £107million last summer in what was supposed to be the crowning moment of his club career.

The former Atletico Madrid star hasn't quite lived up to expectations as of yet, however, and could be left sweating on his place in the starting XI should Barca successfully acquire one or both of Lautaro Martinez and Neymar.

Another World Cup winner and Puma's top footballer though, Griezmann remains a huge commercial asset.

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