Lionel Messi Tops Forbes' Highest-Paid Athletes For 2022

    • Messi earned $133 million in salary and endorsements over the past 12 months.
    • LeBron James ($121.2M) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($115M) ranked second and third.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi topped the list for pre-tax income in Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes after earning $133 million over the past 12 months.

The 34-year-old soccer icon lost roughly $22 million in salary from his final season with Barcelona, but he still makes roughly $75 million with PSG and saw a significant increase in endorsements that matched his 12-month record from last year’s study.

Lakers forward LeBron James came in second at $121.2 million, beating his own previous record for an NBA player ($96.5M). He’s the 10th athlete and first NBA player to surpass $100 million.

Messi’s rival Cristiano Ronaldo ($115M) is third on the list in a year that saw him return to Manchester United from Juventus and earn $60 million in salary.

Ronaldo made an additional $55 million in endorsements and other off-field investments, including Tatel Restaurants and ZujuGP, an app engaging the global soccer community.

The 10 highest-paid athletes earned $992 million over the past year — a 6% decrease from 2021.