Lionel Messi Becomes Second Footballer Ever to Pocket $1 Billion in Career Earnings

Messi becomes the second player to pocked $1 billion
Messi becomes the second player to pocked $1 billion | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has become only the second player in football history to pocket $1 billion in career earnings.

Earlier in 2020, Messi's long term rival Cristiano Ronaldo became football's first billionaire - making him just the third athlete in world sport to earn $1 billion from career earnings, after Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather.

Messi and Ronaldo are the first $1 billion players
Messi and Ronaldo are the first $1 billion players | Power Sport Images/Getty Images

According to Forbes, Messi was the highest paid footballer in the world in 2020, earning $126m ($92m in salary and $34m in endorsements) to tip him over the $1 billion mark.

The Argentinian caused a storm after demanding to leave Barcelona in August, but the situation resolved itself and he is poised to pocket $92m for remaining with the club for the final year of his contract.

Ronaldo was a close second in the 2020 footballer rich list, followed by PSG teammates Neymar and 21-year-old Kylian Mbappe.

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe
Two PSG players make up the top five | David Ramos/Getty Images

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah was the highest placing Premier League player and completed the top five.

Manchester United have two players in the top 10 - Paul Pogba and David de Gea, while Real Madrid have just the one - out of favour Gareth Bale.

The complete top 10 are listed below:

Forbes' Top 10 Highest Paid Players 2020

1. Lionel Messi - Barcelona

FBL-EUR-C1-BARCELONA-NAPOLI
Messi is 2020's highest paid footballer | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $126m

Salary: $92m

Endorsements: $34m

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - Juventus

Sweden v Portugal - UEFA Nations League
Ronaldo was the world's first footballer to earn $1 billion | David Lidstrom/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $117m

Salary: $70m

Endorsements: $47m

3. Neymar - PSG

Neymar
Neymar is number three for the second year in a row | Pool/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $96m

Salary: $78m

Endorsements: $18m

4. Kylian Mbappe - PSG

Kylian Mbappe
Not bad for a 21-year-old | Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $42m

Salary: $28m

Endorsements: $14m

5. Mohamed Salah - Liverpool

Mohamed Salah
Salah is the Premier League's top earner | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $37m

Salary: $24m

Endorsements: $13m

6. Paul Pogba - Manchester United

FBL-ENG-PR-ASTON VILLA-MANU
Pogba is one pf two United players in the top 10 | SHAUN BOTTERILL/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $34m

Salary: $28m

Endorsements: $6m

7. Antoine Griezmann - Barcelona

Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann stuttered during his debut season with Barcelona - but still earned quite a lot of money | David Ramos/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $33m

Salary: $28m

Endorsements: $5m

8. Gareth Bale - Real Madrid

Gareth Bale
Bale is the only Madrid player in the top 10 | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $29m

Salary: $23m

Endorsements: $6m

9. Robert Lewandowski - Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski
Lewandowski has arguably been the best player in the world this year | Pool/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $28m

Salary: $24m

Endorsements: $4m

10. David de Gea

David de Gea
De Gea is the only goalkeeper or defender in the top 10 | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Total Earnings: $27m

Salary: $24m

Endorsements: $3m