Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar Top 2020 Forbes List of Highest-Paid Soccer Players

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 14, 2020

Barcelona's Lionel Messi leaves the field at half time during the pre-season friendly soccer match between Barcelona and Gimnastic at the Johan Cruyff Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, Sept.12, 2020. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
Joan Monfort/Associated Press

Barcelona legend Lionel Messi topped the list of the world's highest-paid soccer players in 2020, taking home a cool $126 million in earnings, according to Christina Settimi of Forbes. 

Messi brought in $92 million in salary and $34 million in endorsements. 

He was followed on the list by Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo ($117 million), Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar ($96 million) and Kylian Mbappe ($42 million), Liverpool's Mohamed Salah ($37 million), Manchester United's Paul Pogba ($34 million), Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann ($33 million), Real Madrid's Gareth Bale ($29 million), Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski ($28 million) and Manchester United's David De Gea ($27 million). 

While there is a major gap between the top three earners on the list (Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar) and the rest of the field, the 21-year-old Mbappe—already a FIFA World Cup winner with France and a key fixture in a PSG side that reached the Champions League final this year—is on the rise. 

As Settimi noted: 

"The kid from Bondy, a poor Parisian suburb, became the sport's most expensive teenager when the Paris club shelled out $215 million to his former club Monaco for his rights in 2017 and signed him to a contract that will pay him $28 million this season. Nike and luxury watchmaker Hublot both feature him prominently and EA Sports announced him as their cover boy for FIFA 21, making him one of the brand's youngest-ever to grace the cover solo."

The young star was brilliant in the 2019-20 season, scoring 18 goals and adding seven assists in 20 Ligue 1 appearances. He added five goals and six assists in 10 Champions League appearances. He's the future face of the sport, so his appearance on this list is unsurprising. 

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Also unsurprising is that eight of the 10 players represented are strikers or wingers, with the Manchester United duo of Pogba (midfielder) and De Gea (goalkeeper) as the lone holdouts. Scoring and setting up goals is worth a lot of money, it turns out.