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Step aside Messi and Ronaldo as Mbappé tops Forbes Rich List

A shift is taking place at the top table of footalling royalty as Mbappe takes the top spot in the Forbes list for the first time.

Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v OGC Nice - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - October 1, 2022 Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe reacts after the match REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has emerged as the world’s highest-paid soccer player, according to Forbes magazine, the first time a player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo has topped the list in eight years.

Mbappe, 23, is estimated to earn $128 million for the 2022-23 season before agents’ fees, a record for Forbes’ annual rankings, with PSG team mate Messi second at $120 million and Manchester United’s Ronaldo ($100 million) occupying third spot.

PSG’s Neymar ($87 million) and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah ($53 million) rounded off the top five.

Haaland breakthrough

Erling Haaland, who has made a blistering start to his Manchester City career after joining the club from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, makes his debut in the top 10 with earnings of $39 million.

 Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland celebrates
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Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland celebrates LEE SMITHAction Images via Reuters

The rise of Frenchman Mbappe and Norwegian Haaland, the only players under the age of 30 on the list, signals a shift in the global game, the Forbes report said, as Messi and Ronaldo edge closer to the end of their glorious careers.

Argentina's Lionel Messi
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Argentina's Lionel Messi JUAN MABROMATAAFP

World’s Highest-Paid Soccer Players 2022 (via Forbes)

  • No. 1) Kylian Mbappe (PSG & France) - $128 million (estimated earning 2022-23)
  • No. 2) Lionel Messi (PSG & Argentina) - $120M
  • No. 3) Cristiano Ronaldo (Man United & Portugal) - $100M
  • No. 4) Neymar Jr (PSG & Brazil) - $87M
  • No. 5) Mo Salah (Liverpool & Egypt) - $53M
  • No. 6) Erling Haaland (Man City & Norway) - $39M
  • No. 7) Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona & Poland) - $35M
  • No. 8) Eden Hazard (Real Madrid & Belgium) - $31M
  • No. 10) Andreas Iniesta (Vissel Kobe & Spain) - $30M

In total, the 10 highest paid soccer players are expected to collect record earnings worth $652 million this season, up 11% from last year’s $585 million.