Forbes announced Lionel Messi as the highest-paid footballer recently, dethroning longstanding rival Cristiano Ronaldo, but there are seven other footballers among the 100 best-earning athletes, including a Manchester United star.
Tired of reading? Click through the gallery to see the nine highest-paid football stars in 2018.
Messi overtook Ronaldo on Forbes magazine's annual rich list following his latest contract extension at FC Barcelona. The Argentine earned $84 million (R1.1 billion) in salary and bonus payments (before tax deductions) over the past year, plus another $27 million (R353 million) in sponsorship deals, according to the business publication.
His overall annual income just beats Ronaldo's by $3 million (R39.2 million). The Portuguese pocketed $61 million (R797 million) from his yearly Real Madrid gross salary, including bonuses, and another $47 million (R614 million) from sponsorship deals.
Neymar was the third highest-paid player with an overall income of $90 million (R1.18 billion). All three sit among the five best-earning athletes worldwide – Messi in second place, Ronaldo in third and Neymar in fifth spot. Floyd Mayweather Jr, who was the top earner in 2018 with $285 million (R3.73 billion), and Conor McGregor, with $99 million (R1.29 billion), complete the top five.
Further down is Real Madrid's Gareth Bale in 35th position with $34.6 million (R452 million), while Manchester United's Paul Pogba appears in 52nd position overall. The Frenchman took home an annual gross income of $29.5 million (R385 million) over the past year.
Oscar, with $29.5 million (R385 million), Wayne Rooney, with $27 million (R353 million), Luis Suarez, with $26.9 million (R351 million), and Sergio Aguero, with $23.5 million (R307 million), are the other footballers among the 100 highest paid athletes in 2018, as per the Forbes Rich List.
Note: Forbes' earnings include prize money, salaries and bonuses earned between 1 June 2017 and 1 June 2018. Endorsement incomes are an estimate of sponsorships, appearance fees and licensing incomes for the same 12-month period based on conversations with dozens of industry insiders. All amounts are before taxes and agent fees.
Which, if any, of the top nine footballers do you think is overpaid? Have your say in the comments section below.