Lionel Messi Forbes richest athlete list revealed: Conor McGregor, LeBron James, Cristiano Ronaldo

There’s been a big shake-up in the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, as one star’s earnings have been brutally wiped out.

Lionel Messi has returned to the top of the list of highest paid athletes in the world.

The footballing legend endured a difficult first season at Paris Saint-Germain following his shock departure from Barcelona – but it didn’t impact his bank account.

Messi is the highest paid athlete for 2022, according to Forbes’ rich annual list.

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Messi’s return to the top comes despite estimates that his salary dropped by around $22m with PSG compared to his previous contract with Barcelona. However, he got a huge boost in his income from sponsorships.

The Argentinian megastar jumped on former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who completely disappeared from the top 10 of the rich list.

Other notable absentees this time around include F1 duo Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, Naomi Osaka, Tiger Woods, Tyson Fury and Kylian Mbappe, The sun reports.

Last year, McGregor raised money from the sale of his Proper No. Twelve whiskey label.

The Irishman claimed the sale was worth up to $150 million.

Forbes revealed Thursday night (AEST) that although McGregor’s earnings have stalled, he will still feature in the top 50 list to be announced later this month.

His recent earnings come from his July fight with Dustin Poirier at UFC 264, but McGregor has since left the Octagon after breaking his leg in the fight.

NFL quarterback Dak Prescott also dropped out of the list after being the No. 4 highest-paid athlete in 2021, while Hamilton also dropped out after being the No. 8 athlete overall. Last year.

At the other end of the list, NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo cracked the top 10 as the only person under 30 on the list.

Tennis legend Roger Federer is still among the highest paid thanks to his numerous sponsorship contracts which make him the No. 1 ambassador of the sports brand.

The other big move was LeBron James’ jump to second place overall, setting a new NBA annual earnings record.

The LA Lakers star’s 2021 roster earnings totaled $96.5 million, but Forbes reports he “smashed” his own record this year with a staggering haul of more than $121 million.

This comes at the same time as Sportico released its own rich list ranking. The sports and business publication revealed that Osaka is once again the highest-earning female athlete in the world in the past 12 months with a staggering earnings of over $53 million.

She earned an estimated $52 million in endorsement deals with on-court prize money worth just $1.2 million.

Osaka is still the highest-earning female athlete despite her recent Grand Slam performances resulting in a third-round exit at the 2022 Australian Open, a third-round exit at the US Open, her stunning decision to quit the French Open 2021 for mental health reasons and his decision to withdraw from Wimbledon in 2021.

Despite being the top female athlete in the past 12 months, Sportico ranks her 20th overall in the athlete rankings, highlighting the disparity between men and women.

List of the top ten highest earning Forbes athletes

1 – Lionel Messi, $130 million

2 – LeBron James, $121 million

3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, $115 million

4 – Neymar – 95m

5 – Stephen Curry, $93 million

6 – Kevin Durant, $92 million

7 – Roger Federer, $91 million

8 – Canelo Alvarez, $90 million

9 – Tom Brady, $84 million

10 – Giannis Antetokounmpo, $81 million

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