Lionel Messi was the world ’ s highest – paid athlete over the past year , Forbes reported on Tuesday in its annual sporting rich list .
Barcelona and Argentina star Messi dethroned retired boxer Floyd Mayweather as the sports world ’ s highest earner , raking in $ 127 million via salary and endorsement deals .
That put Messi ahead of long – time rival Cristiano Ronaldo , the Juventus and Portugal star who was second with earnings of $ 109 million .
Brazil and Paris Saint – Germain striker Neymar completed a sweep of the top three positions by footballers , coming in third with earnings of $ 105 million .
The fourth highest earner on the list was Mexico ’ s middleweight boxing star Saul “ Canelo ” Alvarez with $ 94 million .
Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked the richest deal in boxing history last October , signing a five – year 11 – fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth $ 365 million .
Evergreen tennis star Roger Federer was fifth on the list with total earnings of $ 93 . 4 million .
The bulk of Federer ’ s earnings came through lucrative endorsement deals , with the 20 – time Grand Slam singles champion pocketing $ 86 million .
Stars from the NFL and NBA rounded out the top 10 on the list , with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sixth on $ 89 . 5 million , just ahead of Green Bay Packers signal – caller Aaron Rodgers ( $ 89 . 3 million ) .
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was the highest earning NBA player , with $ 89 million , while Golden State ’ s Stephen Curry was ninth with $ 79 . 8 million .
Curry ’ s Golden State team – mate Kevin Durant was 10 th on the rankings with $ 65 . 4 million .
Former world number one Tiger Woods was 11 th on the list with $ 69 . 3 million , which included an estimated $ 54 million in endorsements .
Meanwhile , tennis superstar Serena Williams was the only woman to make the list , coming in at 63 rd with earnings of $ 29 . 2 million .
( AFP )