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Virat Kohli only Indian in Forbes’ 100 highest-paid athletes list

12 June 2019

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

Argentina and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi is reported to be the world's highest paid athlete, raking in NZ$192 million over the past 12 months according to the Forbes top 100 ranking.

Serena Williams was the only woman to feature on the list, ranking at 63rd.

Among female athletes, the only one to emerge in the standings is the USA tennis player Serena Williams, with 25.7 million euros per year and a distant 63rd among the 100 published.

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Forbes calculates the athletes' earnings by adding up their prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019.

This year's list consists of athletes from 25 different countries and 10 different sports, with basketball being the most represented. Lionel Messi leads the overall chart, earning 112 million Euros a year.

Speaking to Forbes, Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor of Forbes Media, said: "The global impact of soccer is clearly reflected in earnings in 2019, with the top three athletes on the list being Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar".

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

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Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked the richest deal in boxing history last October, signing a five-year 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth $365m.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba is the highest earning Premier League player in 44th place with $33m (£25.9m).

Thirty-five of their players featured (down from 40 last year), headed by LeBron James at $US89 million.

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Virat Kohli only Indian in Forbes’ 100 highest-paid athletes list