Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Lead Forbes Highest Paid Athlete List

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has claimed the top spot on Forbes' annual list of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

Meanwhile, just one female athlete made it into the Top 100, with Serena Williams listed at No. 63 ($29.2 million).

The list, which has been published annually since 1990, was created by the well-known American business magazine and takes into account endorsements, money and salaries garnered by athletes between the period of June 2018 and June 2019 to get an accurate reading for the ranking.

The top 100 includes athletes from 25 countries and their $4bn (£3,1bn) combined earnings are up 5% from the previous year, when Mayweather was first with $285m (£224m).

Last year, Adams was ranked No.86 on the top 100 list.

His only fight since August 2017 was an exhibition boxing bout against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in December.

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Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar completed a sweep of the top three positions by footballers, coming in third with earnings of $105m.

"The global impact of soccer is clearly reflected in earnings in 2019, with the top three athletes on the list being Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar", Badenhausen said on the official website.

Adams earned more than the likes of Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady, Liverpool star Mo Salah and National Basketball Association all star centre Nikola Jokic.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba is the highest earning Premier League player in 44th place with $49.8 million. Neymar (Footballer) $158 million 4.

The fourth highest earner on the list was WBA, WBC, IBF middleweight champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez with $94 million.

Tennis player Roger Federer was the fifth highest-earner on $93.4m. Aaron Rodgers (NFL player) $134 million 8.

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