Reigning Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has been topped by arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the money earning stakes for 2016.
The diminutive Argentine finished runner-up to Ronaldo, who became just the second player from a team sport to ever top the earning charts since the rankings began, reports Forbes. The first sportsperson to do so was basketball legend Michael Jordan.
The chart has been dominated by now retired boxing sensation Floyd Mayweather in recent years, who in turn took over from golfing great Tiger Woods. Woods has formally topped the income stakes on 12 separate occasions, but has seen his career stall dramatically in recent years following a series of hampering injuries.
Barcelona star Messi earned a reported $81.4-million in total for the year. $53.4-million of that came from the player’s salary and bonuses, while a further $28-million came by the way of endorsements.
Ronaldo, however, earned as much as 88-million in total. The player’s salary and bonuses accounted for 56-million of that sum, while the remaining 32-million he earned through endorsement deals.
Ronaldo is currently with his Portugal side preparing for Euro 2016. The side recently warmed up with a crushing 7-0 victory over Estonia, in which Ronaldo recorded a brace.
Messi, for his part, is with Argentina, who have already kicked-off their bid for glory in the Copa America. The superstar missed his country’s first game, a 2-1 win against Chile, through injury.