Messi edges out Ronaldo to head Forbes top 100 highest paid athletes

Messi beats Ronaldo in 2019 Forbes rich list

Messi beats Ronaldo in 2019 Forbes rich list

Argentina's Lionel Messi during training.

Athletes from 10 sports made the top 100, with National Basketball Association stars leading the way.

The rankings is based on overall earnings which includes salaries, winnings from respective sports and endorsement deals all amassed over the period between June 2018 to June 2019.

With equal pay for elite women athletes very much part of the ongoing sports narrative, tennis star Serena Williams was the only woman to feature, coming in 63rd.

Juventus forward Ronaldo became the first footballer to top the list in 2016 and the 34-year-old retained his top-spot in 2017.

Griffin, 30, was acquired by the Pistons in January 2018 (along with his five-year, $173 million contract) in a six-player trade with the L.A. Clippers.

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was the highest earning National Basketball Association player, with $89m, while Golden State's Stephen Curry was ninth with $79.8m.

No Australians made the list, but basketballer Steven Adams from New Zealand came in at 78th.

Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton and former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua are the highest earning British athletes, while number one Messi is one of 38 non-American athletes on the list, with 62 Americans in the top 100.

Overall, the top athletes were from 25 countries - up from 22 a year ago. Cost of admission to the 2019 list is the highest ever at $25 million, up $2.1 million from the previous year. While the USA dominates the list with 62 athletes, the UK, France and Spain fare well too.

Messi, who scored 36 goals while leading Barcelona to the La Liga title this year, earned $US127 million ($AU182m) between his salary and endorsements to move up one spot on the list of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes.

France and Spain each had three athletes while Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Serbia and Venezuela all had two.

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