Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar top Forbes best paid athletes list

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The top 100 includes athletes from 25 countries and their $4bn (£3,1bn) combined earnings are up 5% from the previous year when Mayweather was first with $285m (£224m).

The new list put Messi ahead of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the Juventus and Portugal star who was second with earnings of $109 million.

Lionel Messi has been named as the world's highest paid athlete over the last 12 months, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar, in the Forbes top 100 list.

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However, McGregor not only kept his status as the highest earner from the sport of mixed martial arts, he was also the only MMA fighter to make it into the Top 100.

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and boxer Anthony Joshua (both at $US55 million) were the highest-earning British athletes.

The list, which has been published annually since 1990, was created by the well-known American business magazine and takes into account endorsements, money and salaries garnered by athletes between the period of June 2018 and June 2019 to get an accurate reading for the ranking.

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Canelo, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked a very lucrative deal last October, signing a five-year 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth $365 million. He earned $7.4 million in salary/winnings, but picked up a colossal $86 million in endorsements, the most of any athlete on the list.

LeBron James earned $89m in total with Stephen Curry having made $79.8m and Kevin Durant $65.4m.

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

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