In the world of modern soccer, two giant names stand out - Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As the most talented and marketable players in the world, it is unsurprising that they top the list of highest-earning soccer players in 2020. Cristiano Ronaldo just edged out his rival in the rankings, earning 105 million U.S. dollars in his salary and bonuses and a further 45 million U.S. dollars in endorsements.
Messi's European dominance
The list of Lionel Messi's personal and club achievements is almost endless. Since his debut back in 2004, the diminuitive attacker has played over 600 matches for Barcelona and has scored at a rate of almost one goal every game. He has also won the Ballon d’Or/FIFA Ballon d'Or award – the most prestigious award in soccer – a total of five times. Messi has led FC Barcelona to four of their five total UEFA Champions League titles, and a staggering 10 domestic league titles. As of 2019, FC Barcelona is one of the most valuable sports team brands in the world, valued at over four billion U.S. dollars.
Ronaldo's new challenge
The Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the first highest paid soccer player in the world with 105 million U.S. dollars in salary and bonuses, and a further 45 million U.S. dollars in endorsements in 2020. With 127 goals as of 2019, the forward is the all-time top scorer in the UEFA Champions League since 1955. Ronaldo spent the height of his career at Real Madrid, one of the most valuable European soccer teams. The Madrid-based team has the most titles in the UEFA Champions League, taking home the trophy four out of five times between 2013 and 2018. However, having won everything imaginable at Real Madrid, Ronaldo sought a new challenge in 2018 and transferred to Juventus to try his luck in the Italian Serie A. It came as no surprise that his first season with the club was an overwhelming success as the Portuguese icon scored 21 goals in the league and won the inaugural Serie A Most Valuable Player award.
Highest-paid (salaries & endorsements) soccer players worldwide in 2020
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Forbes. (May 21, 2020). Highest-paid (salaries & endorsements) soccer players worldwide in 2020 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/266636/best-paid-soccer-players-in-the-2009-2010-season/
Forbes. "Highest-paid (salaries & endorsements) soccer players worldwide in 2020." Chart. May 21, 2020. Statista. Accessed August 13, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/266636/best-paid-soccer-players-in-the-2009-2010-season/
Forbes. (2020). Highest-paid (salaries & endorsements) soccer players worldwide in 2020. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: August 13, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/266636/best-paid-soccer-players-in-the-2009-2010-season/
Forbes. "Highest-paid (Salaries & Endorsements) Soccer Players Worldwide in 2020." Statista, Statista Inc., 21 May 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/266636/best-paid-soccer-players-in-the-2009-2010-season/
Forbes, Highest-paid (salaries & endorsements) soccer players worldwide in 2020 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/266636/best-paid-soccer-players-in-the-2009-2010-season/ (last visited August 13, 2020)