Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Lionel Messi as Forbes' best-paid player after Man Utd move

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Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Newcastle at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 11, 2021.

Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken Lionel Messi as the highest paid footballer in the world - but both still sit in the top two spots despite taking significant pay cuts.

The two stars made summer moves with Ronaldo leaving Juventus for Manchester United and Messi shockingly departing Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.

The former took a cut in his wages to facilitate an early exit from Italy back to Old Trafford, while the latter saw the salary he was receiving in Spain halved in his new contract.

That substantial dip means Ronaldo has beat his rival in Forbes' list of the best-paid players in the world for the 2021/22 season.

He is potentially going to make £91.5m over the course of the campaign. In comparison, Messi could earn himself up to £80.5m, an £11m difference.

Ronaldo's deal with the Red Devils could net him roughly £51.25m in wages, with the rest of his income coming from endorsements.

The Argentina captain actually has a higher maximum salary at £54.95m but will only receive £25.6m in sponsorship payments compared to Ronaldo's £40m. IMG-20210922-125611-635

Last year Messi was bagging £95.24m per season, whereas Ronaldo was behind him on £87.91m.

Fellow PSG players Neymar (£69.5m) and Kylian Mbappe (£31.5m) are third and fourth on the new list respectively, demonstrating the financial power of the French club.

Liverpool star Mohammed Salah is next, though earns only a third of what Ronaldo will pocket as the second highest earning Premier League player with £30m.

Robert Lewandowski follows him on £26m with a major shock being 37-year-old Andres Iniesta, who still plays for Japanese club Vissel Kobe, in seventh place on the same amount.

Paul Pogba, who is into the final year of his deal with United, is eighth in the rankings (£25m) with Real Madrid's Gareth Bale coming in as the highest paid British player on £23.5m.

His Los Blancos team-mate and former Chelsea man Eden Hazard rounds off the top 10 with £21m.

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