Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi edged past his arch-nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo to retain the top spot world's highest-paid footballer in 2020. According to the list by Forbes, Messi earned $126m (£98m), divided between $92m (£71.6m) in salary and $34m (£26.4m) in endorsements.
With his annual earning, Messi also became football's second billionaire player after Ronaldo, who had the total earnings of $117m (£91m). Ronaldo is the most followed person Instagram and earns a whopping amount for a sponsored post on the social media platform.
In the last couple of weeks the 'Lionel Messi transfer saga' highlighted the football world. Football giants like Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain and Inter Milan tried their hard to snatch the Argentine from Barcelona. In the end, Messi decided to stay at Barcelona till the end of his contract.
Neymar, who broke the transfer record in 2017 when he joined PSG from Barcelona for 222 million euro, was third on the list of highest-paid footballer in 2020 with ($96m, £74.7m). The flamboyant Brazilian recently signed a lucrative deal with sporting goods Puma. Neymar's attacking partner at PSG, Kylian Mbappe came fourth on the list with $42m (£32.6m) earnings.
Liverpool star forward Mohamed Salah grabbed the fifth spot with total earnings of $37m (£28.8m). Salah was one of the prime reasons behind Liverpool Premier League title win last season.
Other players on the top 10 list are Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) and David De Gea Manchester (United).
Forbes' top 10 highest-paid footballers:
1. Lionel Messi - $126m (£98m)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo - $117m (£91m)
3. Neymar - $96m (£74.7m)
4. Kylian Mbappe - $42m (£32.6m)
5. Mohamed Salah - $37m (£28.8m)
6. Paul Pogba - $34m (£26.5m)
7. Antoine Griezmann - $33m (£25.7m)
8. Gareth Bale - $29m (£22.6m)
9. Robert Lewandowski - $28m (£21.8m)
10. David De Gea - $27m (£21m)