Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been named the world’s highest paid footballers by American business magazine Forbes, the difference in their annual earnings being as slight as the difference between their performances on the pitch.
The 31-year-old Real Madrid and Portugal star takes home the highest pay in the football world, earning a total of $82 million annually, $53 million coming from his salary and $29 million coming from endorsements.
Barcelona and Argentina 28-year-old Messi comes in at second, earning a total of $77 million, with his $51 million salary augmented by $26 million in endorsements.
The two top earners have won the past eight consecutive Ballon d’Or trophies between them, with Messi getting five of those.
Third on the grid is Paris St. Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic who rakes in $37 million annually, most of which comes through his salary, with only $7 million coming through endorsements.
Barcelona’s Neymar Jr. comes in at fourth with $36 million, followed closely by Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale who earns $34 million annually.
Here’s a list of the top 10 highest paid footballers in the world;
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid): $82m
2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona): $77m
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain): $37m
4. Neymar (Barcelona): $36m
5. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): $34m
6. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United): $26m
7. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City): $24m
8. Luis Suarez (Barcelona) $23m
9. Eden Hazard (Chelsea): $22m
10. Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea): $21m