Mbappe ahead of Messi and Ronaldo in latest rich list

By Sports Desk October 07, 2022

Kylian Mbappe has been named football's highest earner in the world by Forbes magazine, overtaking Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Messi and Ronaldo had locked out the top spot since 2014, but Mbappe's new deal with Paris Saint-Germain has seen him overtake his PSG team-mate and the Manchester United star.

The France international had been linked with a move to Real Madrid as his previous deal in Paris was set to expire at the end of last season, only for him to sensationally agree to a three-year extension in May to stay at his hometown club.

Forbes' highest earners in football list also takes into account a player's earnings off the field, and Mbappe is not short of significant sponsorship deals, while also starting his own production company in the last year, Zebra Valley.

Messi and Ronaldo are in second and third place as they continue to earn plenty in the autumn years of their careers, while a third PSG player, Neymar, completes the top four.

As well as Ronaldo, Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (fifth) and Manchester City duo Erling Haaland (sixth) and Kevin De Bruyne (10th) are the three other Premier League representatives on the list.

Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski (seventh) and Madrid's Eden Hazard (eighth) are the only two players from LaLiga.

Former Barca star Andres Iniesta is in ninth, despite leaving Europe to play in Japan in 2018.

2022 Forbes highest earners in football top 10 list

1. Kylian Mbappe - PSG: $128m (£115.2m/€130.9m)

2. Lionel Messi - PSG: $120m (£108.0m/€122.7m)

3. Cristiano Ronaldo - Man Utd: $100m (£90.0m/€102.3m)

4. Neymar - PSG: $87m (£78.3m/€88.9m)

5. Mohamed Salah - Liverpool: $53m (£47.7m/€54.2m)

6. Erling Haaland - Man City: $39m (£35.1m/€39.9m)

7. Robert Lewandowski - Barcelona: $35m (£31.5m/€35.8m)

8. Eden Hazard - Real Madrid: $31m (£27.9m/€31.7m)

9. Andres Iniesta - Vissel Kobe: $30m (£27.0m/€30.7m)

10. Kevin De Bruyne - Man City: $29m (£26.1m/€29.7m)

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    Felix, 23, was purchased from Benfica back in 2019 for a fee of €126m – shattering their transfer record by more than €50m.

    He helped Atletico to a LaLiga title in the 2020-21 season, before being named the club's Player of the Season for the 2021-22 campaign, but he has now fallen out of favour, starting just five of his side's 14 league games.

    Felix has been able to put himself in the shop window during his two starts to begin Portugal's World Cup group stage, including a goal against Ghana, and now Champions League contenders are expected to come calling in January.

     

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    Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Manchester United have been named the main interested parties by Spanish publication AS.

    The report states Felix's relationship with head coach Diego Simeone has become too strained to continue persisting, and includes a claim that Atletico rejected a €130m offer from United before the season.

    With his contract tying him to the club until 2026, there will be no need to settle for an offer deemed unsatisfactory, but AS believes anything approaching that €100m figure – including bonuses – will be enough to get a deal done.

     

    ROUND-UP

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  • Ghana have shot at revenge against Uruguay in ultimate World Cup grudge match Ghana have shot at revenge against Uruguay in ultimate World Cup grudge match

    As far as World Cup grudge matches go, not many – if any – can rival Ghana against Uruguay this century.

    Twelve and a half years on from 'that' match in Johannesburg, the footage of Luis Suarez celebrating his next-level dark arts – some would use a stronger term – remains engrained in the memory.

    While revenge may not be the main motive for winning Friday's latest encounter between the sides – or at least not in the view of Ghana boss Otto Addo – the Black Stars will be relishing the chance to get one over on Suarez and Co.

    The prize on the line is not as big as in 2010, when Uruguay's penalty shoot-out win took them through to the World Cup semi-finals, but should Ghana avoid defeat at Al Janoub Stadium they will be through to the last 16 in Qatar.

    Ahead of the tasty tussle, Stats Perform looks at why their only previous World Cup meeting was so notorious and what exactly is on the line this time around.

    "The hand of God now belongs to me" 

    Those are the words credited to Suarez in 2010, referencing Diego Maradona's equally as infamous goal for Argentina against England in the 1986 World Cup and clearly taking some pride in his act of gamesmanship.

    Public enemy number one in Ghana and wider parts of Africa he may have been, but back home in Uruguay he was elevated towards legendary status.

    "I always say if I was Suarez, I'd have done the same thing to save my country. He's a hero there," said Ghana great Asamoah Gyan. "People hate him, but he did what he had to do to get his country to the semi-final."

    So what exactly did Suarez do to become hated or loved to the highest degree, depending on exactly who you ask?

    No, the then-Ajax striker did not bite anyone – not in that game, at least – but rather used another part of his body to help send his country through at Ghana's expense.

    After Diego Forlan had cancelled out Sulley Muntari's opener to take the match to extra-time, penalties loomed to determine who would reach the last four in South Africa.

    Ghana looked the more likely side to score a winner in their bid to become the first African side to reach the semis of the competition, at which point Suarez illegally handled Dominic Adiyiah's goal-bound shot.

    "Illegally handled" is one way of putting it; a great two-handed save on the line is another. Suarez did what was necessary to prevent Adiyiah's late effort from eliminating Uruguay, who went on to lose 3-2 to the Netherlands in the next round.

    A red card was his punishment, though it was ultimately worth it as Gyan struck the crossbar from the subsequent spot-kick and it was Uruguay who went through on penalties after the game finished 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes.

     

    The state of play 12 years on

    More than the act itself, it was arguably the way Suarez stood on the edge of the pitch and wildly celebrated Gyan's missed effort that angered Ghana supporters so much.

    The man who had just denied them their greatest day was about to enjoy his own greatest day – or at least with his national side, having had so much success at club level, where he is now plying his trade for Nacional once again.

    And so we arrive full circle to the current day in Al-Wakrah, where on Friday it will be heartbreak for at least one of Ghana or Uruguay.

    After a thrilling 3-2 victory over South Korea to follow up a just as lively 3-2 loss to Portugal, Ghana are second in Group H and will be assured of a place in the knockout stage should they win.

    A draw, just like in Bloemfontein, may also be enough for Ghana should South Korea fail to beat group leaders Portugal.

    Uruguay, who have failed to score in a stalemate with South Korea and 2-0 loss to Portugal, need to win and hope Portugal avoid defeat against South Korea.

    Not quite winner takes all, then, but the stakes remain incredibly high in this huge grudge match, which Suarez will be hopeful of starting.

    "I'm a guy who doesn't think too much in the past when this incident happened," Ghana boss Addo said in the build-up to the match. "I'm a strong believer if you don't seek revenge, you get even more blessings."

    Maybe so. But by beating Uruguay on Friday to exact that revenge, Ghana will have blessings that may yet take them even further than the magical run 12 years ago that ended in the most crushing of manners.

    Either way, in what will surely be his final World Cup, you would not bet against that man Suarez taking centre stage regardless of the outcome.

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    "That is bitter and there have been many missed opportunities within the last four years."

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