Messi tops Forbes' highest-paid athletes list

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Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - RC Strasbourg v Paris St Germain - Stade de la Meinau, Strasbourg, France - April 29, 2022 Paris St Germain's Lionel Messi REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

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May 11 (Reuters) - Lionel Messi was the world's highest-paid athlete over the last year, according to the annual Forbes list released on Wednesday that had the Paris Saint-Germain forward ahead of the NBA's LeBron James and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi earned $130 million, a figure which includes $55 million of endorsements, during the 12-month period ended May 1, 2022, to sit atop the list of the 10 highest-paid athletes a year after finishing second to Irish MMA fighter Conor McGregor.

Los Angeles Lakers forward James was next on the list after bringing home a combined $121 million, shattering the $96.5 million record for an NBA player that he set last year, while Portugal captain Ronaldo earned $115 million to sit third.

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Brazilian soccer player Neymar ($95 million) and three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry ($92.8 million) of the Golden State Warriors rounded out the top five.

NBA player Kevin Durant ($92 million) was sixth while Swiss tennis great Roger Federer, who played five tournaments in 2021 before a knee operation curtailed his season, was third with total earnings of $90.7 million.

The final three spots on the list went to Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez ($90 million), seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady ($83.9 million) and reigning NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo ($80.9 million).

Forbes said its on-the-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned during the 12-month period while off-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income.

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Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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