Lionel Messi has edged Cristiano Ronaldo to top the list of football’s best-paid stars, according to France Football magazine.
The well-respected publication named its top 20 earners in the global game on Wednesday, and the Barcelona and Argentina star is top of the pile with a reported salary-plus-endorsements package of €65 million – or £48 million.
That puts him comfortably ahead of FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, who is second on £40m.
Third-placed Neymar is a long way back on a mere £27m, with his Brazil team-mate Thiago Silva, Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale all close behind.
This is the 17th time that France Football has run their “salaries of the stars” survey, which Messi tops for the fifth time in the last six years.
Messi’s big gap at the top is said to be down to a combination of his rapidly-increasing fortune from off-pitch activity – worth £21m – and his new, €3m-a-month deal at Barcelona, signed last year, which accounts for the rest.
The Argentine isn’t the only one whose wages are soaring: Ronaldo earned £10m more last year than he did in the previous 12 months, no doubt thanks to his habit of stripping down to his pants, but is still well shy of Messi.