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Messi Tops Forbes’ 2019 List of The World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes

Lionel Messi was named the world’s highest-paid athlete on Forbes Magazine annual ranking of the World’s 100 Highest-Paid athletes. The athletes who collectively earned $4 billion over the last 12 months, up 5% from last year’s earnings of $3.8 billion were considered.

Messi, for the first time, moved up from second place last year, with $127 million in total earnings. He was able to unseat Floyd Mayweather, who held the crown last year, and was the leader four times in seven years.

Behind Messi is longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 2), who earned $109 million between his salary and endorsements. Serena Williams (No. 63) returned to the ranking, after no women appeared in 2018. Cost of admission to the 2019 list is the highest ever at $25 million, up $2.1 million from the previous year. Endorsement income experienced an increase of 12.5% to $987 million this year.

There are 25 different countries represented on this year’s World’s Highest-Paid Athletes list, up from 22 in 2018. Americans dominate the action with 62 athletes thanks to the sky-high salaries in the major sports leagues. The U.K. has five athletes, France and Spain have three, while Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Serbia and Venezuela all have two.

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