Ronaldo tops Messi as highest earning footballer

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has topped rival Lionel Messi to head the Forbes list as the world’s highest-paid soccer player for the fourth consecutive year.

The 32-year-old Real Madrid superstar banked $93-million (R1.2-billion) through bonus payments and endorsement deals between June 2016 and May 2017 and also topped the list of highest-paid athletes worldwide.

Ronaldo made $58m (R750m) from salary and bonus in the past year as he helped Madrid clinch the La Liga, as they prepare for Saturday’s  Champions League final against Juventus.

Ronaldo’s greatest rival Lionel Messi raked in $80m (R1.03b) to sit in second place with $53m (R685m) in salary and bonus payments and $27m (R349m) from endorsements.

“To compile the list of the world’s highest-earning soccer players, Forbes looked through team filings and spoke with players’ agents, talent agencies, commercial sponsors and soccer experts in the U.S. and Europe,” Forbes stated.

Forbes rich list:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) –  $93-million

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – $80m3: Neymar (Barcelona), $37 million

3. Neymar (Barcelona) – $37m

4. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – $34m

5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) – $32m

6. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) – $17.6m

7. Luis Suarez (Barcelona) – $23.3m

8. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) – $22.6m

9. James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) – $21.9m

10. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – $21.2m

*All figures are in US dollars and include salaries, bonuses, and endorsements. Transfer fees are excluded. Earnings are for the period 1 June 2016 to 31 May 2017. Performance metrics are for all league competitions.