Barcelona's Lionel Messi ahead of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo as world football's top earner

The La Liga pair are still behind the likes of US golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson but still earn more than the Premier League's top-paid star Wayne Rooney

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been confirmed as the best-paid footballer in the world having picked up $43.8 million (€30.5m) in the last year, according to America's Sports Illustrated 'Fortunate 50' list.

The Argentinian, who is widely acknowledged as the greateat player on the planet, came out above Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney in the list, who earned €27.1m and €23m respectively.

The ‘Fortunate 50’ takes into account the earnings, endorsements, bonuses and appearance fees of leading sports stars.

Tiger Woods is leading the way – earning a staggering €46m last year, though that was down €20m on his previous year’s earnings.

Despite being the highest earning footballer, the Camp Nou superstar only came seventh on the overall sporting list, behind the likes of Formula One driver Fernando Alonso, who is a Real Madrid supporter himself.

Below are the footballers who made the international top 20, with figures given from the recently-completed season.

Rank Player Amount Earned (USD)
1 Lionel Messi $43,800,000
2 Cristiano Ronaldo $38,800,000
3 Wayne Rooney $29,200,000
4 Kaka $27,300,000
5 David Beckham $26,800,000
6 Ronaldinho $25,800,000
7 Carlos Tevez $21,700,000
8 Frank Lampard $20,100,000

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