Messi signed a new contract with Barça in November that is thought to be a major factor behind propelling him ahead of Real Madrid’s Ronaldo.
Neymar was also thought to be ahead of Ronaldo in terms of basic wages following his summer move to PSG, but the Brazilian remains behind the Portuguese overall as France Football’s list also takes into account all bonuses and sponsorship income.
Messi’s overall income this season will total an estimated €126m, ahead of Ronaldo on €94m, and Neymar on €81.5m. The trio, who were Ballon d’Or finalists together in 2015 and 2017, are way ahead of the rest of the world’s best paid players this season.
Ronaldo’s Real teammate Gareth Bale is fourth on the list with earnings of €44m, while Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is next on €29m, almost €100m less than Messi.
La Liga players dominate the top 10, with LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic the only player other than Neymar not at a Spanish club. The Swede famously took a massive pay cut to join the Californian franchise, but his other incomes have been booming this season.
Others playing in England, China and Germany feature in the top 20:
|Player||Club||2017/18 Earnings (€)|
|Lionel Messi||Barcelona (ESP)||€126m|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid (ESP)||€94m|
|Neymar||Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)||€81.5m|
|Gareth Bale||Real Madrid (ESP)||€44m|
|Gerard Pique||Barcelona (ESP)||€29m|
|Toni Kroos||Real Madrid (ESP)||€28m|
|Sergio Ramos||Real Madrid (ESP)||€27.5m|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic||LA Galaxy (USA)||€27m|
|Antoine Griezmann||Atletcio Madrid (ESP)||€26m|
|Luis Suarez||Barcelona (ESP)||€26m|
|Andres Iniesta||Barcelona (ESP)||€25.5m|
|Ezequiel Lavezzi||Hebei China Fortune (CHN)||€25m|
|Alexis Sanchez||Manchester United (ENG)||€23.5m|
|Karim Benzema||Real Madrid (ESP)||€23.5m|
|Thomas Muller||Bayern Munich (GER)||€23m|
|Edinson Cavani||Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)||€22.5m|
|Oscar||Shanghai SIPG (CHN)||€22m|
|Robert Lewandowski||Bayern Munich (GER)||€22m|
|Paul Pogba||Manchester United (ENG)||€22m|
|Manuel Neuer||Bayern Munich (GER)||€21m|