Lionel Messi, Soccer Players Dominate Top of Forbes’ List of Highest Paid Athletes

Written By Chops on June 11, 2019 - Last Updated on June 12, 2019

Soccer players get paaaaiiid.

Or at least the best of the best do.

Forbes released its annual list of highest paid athletes, and soccer players dominated the top of the list.

However, the number of players in their prime or at the top of their game represented on the list is much lower than you’d think.

Lionel Messi tops the list, soccer players top 3

The GOAT, Lionel Messi, earned a staggering $127M last year. That comes from $92M in salary and $35M in endorsements.

Messi is followed by two men currently accused of rape: Cristiano Ronaldo ($109M–$65M in salary, $44M in endorsements) and Neymar ($105M–$75M salary, $30M endorsements).

From there, it’s a precipitous drop-off in wages and endorsements.

Top heavy 3 out of 12

After the top three, no soccer players show up until Paul Pogba at #44.

It’s actually an astounding list mostly compromised of players who shouldn’t be there vs those who are more deserving:

  • Paul Pogba #44: $33M total
  • Andres Iniesta #46: $32.5M total
  • Alexis Sanchez #53: $30.8M total
  • Kylian Mbappe #56: $30.6M total
  • Mesut Ozil #57: $30.2M total
  • Oscar #66: $29M total
  • Antoine Griezmann #75: $27.7M total
  • Gareth Bale #79: $27.1M total
  • Mo Salah #98: $25.1M total

Of the 12 players represented, along with the triumvirate Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar, only Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Mo Salah are in (or approaching) their prime and producing at elite levels.

Pogba certainly is deserving to be among the top paid soccer players as well, just not #4.

Mbappe is the youngest athlete on the list.

Oscar and Iniesta are outliers in that they play in China where the demand for any level of star inflates the wages. Every other contract on the list (Pogba included) those respective teams are trying to dump.

Soccer represents fourth most athletes

Despite occupying the top 3 spots, soccer players only made up the 4th most positions on the list from all sports. Ahead of soccer were:

  • Basketball (35)
  • American Football (20)
  • Baseball (15)
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Chops is the executive producer of High Press Soccer. He's an unabashed Liverpool fan who will absolutely let that bias seep into his reporting and analysis.

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