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Ronaldo replaces Messi as highest-paid footballer

LONDON, United Kingdom, Sep 22 – Cristiano Ronaldo has replaced Lionel Messi as the highest-paid footballer in the world, according to latest rankings released by Forbes.

Ronaldo is set to make Ksh 13.7 billion (£91.63m) before taxes in the 2021-22 season after moving back to Manchester United with Ksh 7.7 billion (£51.31m) coming from his salary and bonuses at Old Trafford, according to Forbes.

The 36-year-old is set to earn an estimated Ksh 6.6 billion (£40.31m) from commercial deals, with only three athletes set to earn more from sponsorship; Roger Federer Ksh 9.9 billion (£65.97m), LeBron James Ksh 7.2 billion (£47.64m) and Tiger Woods Ksh 6.6 billion (£43.98m).

Messi, who topped last year’s rankings, falls to second despite sealing a lucrative move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Forbes claim the former Barcelona star will earn Ksh 12.1 billion (£80.63m) this season, with Ksh 7.5 billion (£50m) of that figure coming from his salary and bonuses at the Parc des Princes.

Meanwhile, Messi’s club team-mates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are third and fourth on the list respectively.

Neymar is set to earn Ksh 10.4 billion (£69.68m) in the 2021-22 season, while Mbappe is some way behind the Brazilian with expected earnings of Ksh 4.7 billion (£31.54m).

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is fifth in the rankings with expected earnings of Ksh 4.6 billion (£30.6m), while Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is sixth with Ksh 3.8 billion (£25.66m).

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Perhaps a surprise inclusion on the list is former Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, who is ranked seventh with earnings of $35m (£25.66m) – the bulk of which comes from his salary and bonuses at Japanese club Vissel Kobe.

Eighth on the list is Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, who is set to make $34m (£24.92m), while Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is the highest-ranked British player in ninth with expected earnings of $32m (£23.46m).

Another Real Madrid player rounds off the top 10, former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard, who is set to earn $29m (£21.26m) in the 2021-22 campaign.

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