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Ronaldo is now highest-paid footballer

Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Messi in key ranking following Man Utd move

September 22, 2021 By Michelle Bonsu
The Portuguese superstar's return to Manchester United has helped him overtake his top rival in the charts.

The events of the 2021 summer transfer market will certainly be among the most talked about for years to come, and that's namely due to the shocking transfers of arguably, the two biggest players in world football: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. While many didn't expect Ronaldo to stay on long-term at Juventus, especially considering La Vecchia Signora's poor showings in the Champions League and even domestically last season, Messi and Barcelona looked like a marriage for life.

Well, one great thing about the beautiful game is its rather unpredictable nature, and now we have Cristiano back at Manchester United, where he first became a global icon, while Messi, for the first time in his professional career, has decided to try his luck in France with capital giants PSG. Both players have had drastically contrasting fortunes since moving, to say the least. Ronaldo has hit the ground running, opening both his accounts in the Premier League and the Champions League. By contrast, Messi has yet to really find his footing, and now is set to miss out on PSG's match against Metz with a reported knee injury - meaning that fans will have to wait a bit longer to see the six-time Ballon d'Or winner finally get on the score-sheet.

In any case, both players secured big money moves to their respective clubs, but only one player has come out on top due to his salary: Cristiano Ronaldo.

For the first time in several years, the 36-year-old Portuguese superstar now has reclaimed his spot as the top earner in world football for the 2021/22 year, as per American publication Forbes. This season will see him earn a cool $125 million before taxes, with $70 million of that haul coming from taxes and other bonuses.

Messi, meanwhile, will be paid $110 million - certainly not a small sum - but still less than his top rival.

Curious to know who else made this list? Well, there are two Real Madrid players, and not surprisingly, two of Messi's teammates at PSG plus a new colleague of Cristiano's at Manchester United, among others, including one familiar face who currently plies his trade in Japan.

Meanwhile, no player at an Italian club managed to make the top ten.

Here's the top ten list in full:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United - $125 million

2. Lionel Messi, PSG - $110 million

3. Neymar, PSG - $95 million

4. Kylian Mbappe, PSG - $43 million

5. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool - $41 million

6. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich - $35 million

7. Andres Iniesta, Vissel Kobe - $35 million

8. Paul Pogba, Manchester United - $34 million

9. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid - $32 million

10. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid - $29 million

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