Messi unseats Mayweather as highest-paid athlete

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Lead Forbes Highest Paid Athlete List

Messi beats Ronaldo in 2019 Forbes rich list

The top 100 list saw Messi followed by Cristiano Ronaldo ($US109 million) and Neymar ($US105 million) - the first time footballers have ranked as the top three earners.

Basketball and football dominated Forbes's top 100 list of the highest-paying sports, and there was a wide variety of nationalities amongst the top athletes.

The list, which has been published annually since 1990, was created by the well-known American business magazine and takes into account endorsements, money and salaries garnered by athletes between the period of June 2018 and June 2019 to get an accurate reading for the ranking.

Mayweather has dropped off the list this year.

Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua are the highest earning British athletes, sitting at 13th on $55m (£43.2m).

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Athletes had to earn a minimum of $25m (£19.6m) to make this year's list.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (89.5 million), Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ($89.3 million), Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James ($89 million), Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry ($79.8 million) and his teammate Kevin Durant ($65.4 million) round out the top 10.

Messi, who scored 36 goals while leading Barcelona to the La Liga title this year, earned $127 million (£100 million) between his salary and endorsements to move up one spot on the list of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes.

Brazilian PSG star Neymar ($105 million) completed a hat-trick of footballers at the top of Forbes' list, listed at number three despite earning $10 million more in salary/winnings than the Portuguese star.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba is the highest earning Premier League player in 44th place with $49.8 million.

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