The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes In The World 2022 | ForbesLionel Messi was only 17 when he began suiting up for the top squad at FC Barcelona, so it was more than a little jarring when, after 17 seasons, he left the only professional home he had ever known to transfer to Paris Saint-Germain last August.
In one regard, though, this season marked a return to familiar territory for the 34-year-old soccer superstar.
With $130 million in pre-tax gross earnings over the last 12 months, Messi claims the top spot in Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes, leading the list for the second time (the other was in 2019). Although Forbes estimates that Messi’s salary is down some $22 million from his final year with Barcelona—to $75 million this season at PSG—a major boost in endorsements helps him equal the record 12-month total for a soccer player he posted last year, when he finished No. 2 to MMA fighter Conor McGregor.
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