Barcelona star Lionel Messi has become football’s second billionaire as he tops Forbes’ rich list in 2020.
According to Forbes, the 33-year-old has now pocketed more than $1 billion in pre-tax earnings during his career — following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo.
And the publication reports the Argentine international is the highest-paid footballer of 2020.
Messi is said to be set to pocket $AUD172 million in total this year from his salary and endorsements.
As well as being sponsored by the likes of Adidas and Pepsi, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has just released a limited edition Budweiser beer.
Juventus striker Ronaldo is second on the Forbes list, reportedly earn $160 million this year.
Unsurprisingly, Brazilian trickster Neymar — who could be handed a seven-game ban for punching Marseille defender Alvaro — is in third place.
The Paris Saint-Germain winger, who quit Nike to join Puma, is in line to pocket $131m, with his Les Parisiens teammate Kylian Mbappe fourth with $57.6 million.
Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah ($51 million) is fifth thanks to his endorsements from Adidas and Vodafone Egypt.
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Following him in sixth is Paul Pogba ($46.6m) while his French compatriot Antoine Griezmann is seventh, with the Barcelona man to earn $45 million.
Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale — who is a loan target for Manchester United — is eighth with $39.7 million thanks to his whopping wages at the Bernabeu.
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski is ninth with $38.4 million, and Red Devils goalkeeper David de Gea rounds out the top 10 with the Spaniard to take home $37 million.
WORLD’S HIGHEST-PAID FOOTBALL PLAYERS
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) — $172m
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) — $160m
3. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) — $131m
4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) — $57.6m
5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) — $51m
6. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) — $46.6m
7. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) — $45m
8. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) — $39.7m
9. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) — $38.4m
10. David De Gea (Manchester United) — $37m
This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission