Argentine and Barcelona skipper, Lionel Messi, has retained his place at the top of Forbes’ list of highest-paid footballers in the world.

The World’s best player secured the honours after earning about $126 million (£98 million) over the last one year.

Closely behind Messi in second place is Portugal and Juventus star player, Cristiano Ronaldo

The duo have again been confirmed as the two best paid footballers in the world

The Barcelona superstar had sent shockwaves through world football last month after telling the club he has spent his entire career about his desire to quit following a disastrous and trophyless campaign in 2019-20.

Messi believed he could use a clause in his contract to leave for free, but Barca and La Liga disputed that claim and insisted his deal could only be terminated should his release clause be paid.

The two parties began a standoff that saw Messi linked with big-money moves to Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter as the footballing landscape nearly changed due to Messi’s request

Amid frustration with the Camp Nou board, and president Josep Maria Bartomeu in particular, Messi performed a dramatic U-turn, telling Goal that he has elected to stay with the embattled La Liga giants for at least the 2020-21 campaign.

However, the Argentine may just have to console himself with being the highest-paid footballer in the world with earnings in the region of $126 million in salary and endorsements over the past 12 months.

His long-time rival, Ronaldo comes second on the list after bringing in earnings of $117 million (£91m) from his Juventus contract as well as his various endorsements away from the field.

Paris Saint-Germain stars, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are third and fourth respectively as the duo are fresh off reaching the Champions League final with the French side, with Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah in fifth place as the Reds begin their Premier League title defence.

Also making up the top 10 list are French World Cup winners, Manchester United big boy, Paul Pogba; and Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann; Real Madrid outcast, Gareth Bale; Bayern Munich striker, Robert Lewandowski; and Manchester United goalkeeper, David De Gea of Spain

Forbes’ top 10 highest-paid footballers:-
1. Lionel Messi – $126m (£98m)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – $117m (£91m)
3. Neymar – $96m (£74.7m)
4. Kylian Mbappe – $42m (£32.6m)
5. Mohamed Salah – $37m (£28.8m)
6. Paul Pogba – $34m (£26.5m)
7. Antoine Griezmann – $33m (£25.7m)
8. Gareth Bale – $29m (£22.6m)
9. Robert Lewandowski – $28m (£21.8m)
10. David De Gea – $27m (£21m) –  With Goal.com reports

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