Ronaldo tops Messi in Forbes' top-earning soccer players
Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo Press Association

Cristiano Ronaldo tops Lionel Messi in Forbes' list of top-earning soccer players

Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo has reclaimed the top spot on Forbes' list of the top-earning soccer players of 2021. 

Ronaldo is set to make $125 million before taxes during the 2021-22 season, with $70 million coming from salary and bonuses at United. The remainder comes from endorsements and partnerships with brands, including Nike and his CR7 brand. 

Only three other active athletes make more than Ronaldo commercially, per Forbes: tennis star Roger Federer ($90 million), Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James ($65 million) and golf icon Tiger Woods ($60 million).

Messi, who topped last year's list, is set to make $110 million before taxes this season and will be paid a salary of $75 million from Paris Saint-Germain. The rest of his earnings comes from endorsements. 

Messi's PSG teammate, Neymar, is third on the list with total earnings of $95 million. Another PSG star, Kylian Mbappe, is fourth at $43 million. 

Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United this summer after requesting a transfer from Juventus. Messi, meanwhile, signed with the Parisians after spending his entire career with Barcelona. The Argentine striker couldn't re-sign with Barca due to financial complications at the club and is making less than he would have if he could've stayed at Camp Nou. 

Here is Forbes' list of the top 10 highest earners in soccer and which teams they play for:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United: $125 million
  2. Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain: $110 million
  3. Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain: $95 million
  4. Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain: $43 million
  5. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool: $41 million
  6. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich: $35 million
  7. Andres Iniesta, Vissel Kobe: $35 million
  8. Paul Pogba, Manchester United: $34 million
  9. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid: $32 million
  10. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid: $29 million

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bridgewater State University and currently is in pursuit of her Master's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90.

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