Forbes list: Messi is world's highest paid athlete, Kohli only Indian on the list

Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi was the world's highest paid athlete over the past year as per the Forbes list, and India cricket captain Virat Kohli was the only Indian on the list.

Lionel Messi topped the Forbes list of the world's highest paid athletes and India cricket captain was the sole Indian on the list.   -  AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi was the world's highest-paid athlete over the past year, Forbes reported on Tuesday in its annual sporting rich list, and India cricket captain Virat Kohli was the sole Indian to feature on the list, ranked 100th on the table.

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Barcelona and Argentina icon Messi led the list with a total of $127 million in earnings, while his long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo - who won the Nations League with Portugal last Sunday - was second with a total earning of $109 million. Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar completed a sweep of the top three positions by footballers, coming in third with earnings of $105 million.

Boxer Floyd Mayweather, who held the top spot last year, did not feature in the list this time around.

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The fourth highest earner on the list was Mexico's middleweight boxing star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez with $94 million. Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked the richest deal in boxing history last October, signing a five-year 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth $365 million.

Evergreen tennis star Roger Federer was fifth on the list with total earnings of $93.4 million. The bulk of Federer's earnings came through lucrative endorsement deals, with the 20-time Grand Slam singles champion pocketing $86 million. Rafael Nadal, who bagged his 12th French Open title on Sunday, was 37 with a total earning of $35 million.

Serena Williams, ranked 63, is the only woman on the list. She accumulated a total earning of $29.2 million, which is close to 23 percent of what Messi earned in the same period - further highlighting the gender pay gap in sport. The 2018 list had no woman in the list.

- 100 athletes from 10 sports 25 nations -

The list of athletes consists of players from ten different sports and NBA stars rule the roost with 35 represents, down from 40 in 2018. LeBron James was the highest paid NBA star with a total of $89 million.

Athletes from across 25 countries made it to the list this year, an increase from 22 in 2018. Americans dominated the list with 62 athletes, while the U.K. has five athletes. France and Spain have three, while Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Serbia and Venezuela all have two.

-Kohli, the sole Indian on the list -

Kohli is said to have earned $21 million from endorsements and $4 million from salary and winnings, taking his tally to $25 million for the last year. He was ranked 83 last year.

(With inputs from AFP)