Lewis Hamilton drops out of Forbes’ rich list with Lionel Messi above Cristiano Ronaldo

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Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton has dropped out of Forbes’ top-10 highest paid athletes, whilst football legend Lionel Messi has moved ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo following his move to Paris Saint Germain. Forbes releases the list annually, however this year one man missing from the list is Hamilton.

The Englishman’s earnings no doubt took a hit after he dramatically missed out on a record eighth world title, after losing to rival Max Verstappen on the last lap of the last race at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Whilst Hamilton has fallen out of the list, the man who can be found at the top is Messi.

The Argentine star made the move to PSG last summer after ending his 17-year stay with FC Barcelona. Whilst his wages in the French capital are less than that of what he earnt during his final season in Spain, Messi’s income is said to have been heavily boosted thanks to a number of endorsements and sponsorships, according to Forbes.

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The 34-year-old’s leading pre-tax gross earnings over the last 12 months came in at a cool £106 million, £12 million more than his long-time rival Ronaldo who came in third with £94 million following his return to Manchester United. The man who splits the two football stars is basketball legend LeBron James whose earnings came in at £99 million.

Further down the list comes Messi’s PSG teammate Neymar, who sits fourth on £78 million, whilst NBA stars Steph Curry and Kevin Durant come in at fifth and sixth, on £76 million and £75 million respectively. Despite not competing since last summer’s Wimbledon, tennis legend Roger Federer is still earning a pretty penny as he finds himself seventh with a gross income of £74 million.

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In eighth comes boxing’s representative after Mexican Canelo Alvarez raked in a cool £73 million across the year, despite his recent shock defeat to Russia’s Dmitry Bivol. The final two spots are occupied by two American stars, with NFL legend Tom Brady coming in ninth with £68 million in a year that saw him call time on his career, before coming out of retirement just two months later.

The final spot on the list is occupied by basketballer Giannis Antetokounmpo who brought in £66 million following his year with the Milwaukee Bucks. His inclusion, and Neymar’s recent 30th birthday means he is the only sports star on the list still in his twenties.

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