Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10


Conor McGregor has slipped off the list of the top 10 highest paid athletes over the past 12 months.

Forbes magazine has unveiled its annual list of top sports star earners which features icons from football, basketball, boxing and tennis.

McGregor slipped out of Forbes’ top 10, but will be in the top 50

There have been quite a few changes to the roster and there has been an overall decline in collective earnings, directly related to the UFC star.

McGregor has only fought once in the last 12 months, breaking his leg in a loss to Dustin Poirier.

He topped the list in 2021 with a staggering $180 million, largely due to the estimated $150 million he pocketed selling his brand of Irish whiskey.

The top 10 collectively earned $992 million, up from $1.05 billion the previous year.

Lionel Messi reclaims his place at the top of the list for the second time, ahead of career rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here’s how the top 10 list is formed.


1. Lionel Messi – $130 million

Messi grabs the top spot, despite taking a $22m pay cut on a move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.

His on-court earnings were $75 million, while his endorsements and endorsements earned him another $55 million.

He has deals with adidas, Budweiser, PepsiCo and Hard Rock.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Messi was the highest paid athlete in the last 12 months
Getty

2. Lebron James – $121.2 million

The NBA superstar continues to rake in huge sums of money on the basketball court, earning $80 million.

The Los Angeles Lakers may have missed the playoffs, but his earnings were boosted by his appearance in Space Jam: A New Legacy and also sold his minority stake in production company SpringHill.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
LeBron James was second to Lionel Messi among the highest paid athletes
Getty Images – Getty

3. Cristiano Ronaldo – $115 million

Ronaldo made a return to the Premier League to join Manchester United and became the league’s highest-paid player.

Off the pitch, he continues to be one of the most marketable people in the world and his 690 million followers on social media platforms see him as a desirable prospect for sponsors.

Ronaldo earned $60m from on-field earnings, with another $55m – the same as his rival Messi.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Ronaldo is the highest paid player in the Premier League, but still earns less than Messi
Getty

4. Neymar – $95 million

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar has once again teamed up with Messi and joins him among the best earners in the world.

The majority of his income comes from on-court money, $70m, while he brings in another $25m from endorsements like Puma and Red Bull.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Neymar remains one of the most marketable footballers on the planet
Getty

5. Steph Curry – $92.8 million

The Golden State Warriors superstar is the highest-paid player in the NBA, with a $215 million extension in August. It has earned him $45.8 million over the past 12 months.

Curry also has a number of endorsements ranging from FTX to cryptocurrency, while also having his own production company.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Curry is a three-time NBA champion and twice named league MVP
Getty Images – Getty

6. Kevin Durant – $92.1 million

Durant is the third of four NBA stars on the Top 10 list after moving to the Brooklyn Nets in 2019 on a contract that pays him $42.1 million a year.

His $28 million endorsement deal with Nike is second only to that of LeBron James.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Durant left the Warriors to join the Brooklyn Nets in 2019
Getty Images – Getty

7. Roger Federer – $90.7 million

Federer was beset by injury troubles in 2021 and has only won $700,000 in prize money as his career continues to slide.

He still earned $90 million in off-pitch endorsements with brands like Uniqlo, Rolex and Swiss shoe brand Un.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Federer’s injury problems prevented him from making an impact in 2021
AFP

8. Canelo Alvarez – $90 million

The Mexican superstar continues to be boxing’s biggest draw with his pay-per-view events in May and November 2021, each earning him $40 million or more.

His clash with Dmitry Bivol fell outside the Forbes window, but that will likely see him return to the list in 2023.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Canelo is the highest paid boxer on the planet
Getty

9. Tom Brady – $83.9 million

Everyone said goodbye to Brady at the end of the season, but it only lasted six weeks before he announced his return.

He earned over $30 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but raked in $52 million in off-court endorsements, while launching a lucrative NFT platform.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Brady retired before a quick U-turn
GETTY

ten. Giannis Antetokounmpo – $80.9 million

The Milwaukee Bucks star is the only person under 30 on the list thanks to his five-year, $228 million contract he signed in 2020.

He counts WhatsApp and Google among his long list of supporters.

Lionel Messi on Cristiano Ronaldo despite pay cut with Neymar and Canelo Alvarez also on highest paid athletes of 2022 as Conor McGregor drops out of top 10
Antetokounmpo is the only player under 30 on the list
Getty Images – Getty

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