Off the pitch, however, no one perhaps expected the Frenchman to overtake the soccer greats with the speed in which he has after the 23-year-old was named by Forbes as the world’s highest-paid soccer player.
According to Forbes, the Paris Saint-Germain forward will earn an estimated $128 million for the 2022-23 season before agents’ fees, a record in the magazine’s annual rankings.
Messi, 35, drops to second at $120 million, with Manchester United’s Ronaldo, 37, third on $100 million.
For the first time in eight years, neither Messi nor Ronaldo top the list.
PSG and Brazil’s Neymar ($87 million) is fourth, Liverpool and Egypt forward Mohamed Salah ($53 million) fifth, while Manchester City’s Erling Haaland ($39 million) debuts in the top 10 in sixth.
In total, the 10 highest paid soccer players are expected to collect record earnings worth $652 million this season, up 11% from last year’s $585 million.