CNN  — 

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to leapfrog long-term rival Lionel Messi as the highest-paid football player in the world, according to Forbes.

Following his move back to Manchester United, the Portuguese superstar is forecast to earn $125 million before taxes this season – with $70 million coming from his salary and bonuses alone.

Messi, meanwhile, is set to earn $110 million in the 2021-22 season, making him the second-highest earner in the game.

The 34-year-old joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona this year and is anticipated to earn more than Ronaldo in terms of salary – $75 million.

The World's Highest-Paid Football Players

  • Cristiano Ronaldo – $125M
  • Lionel Messi – $110M
  • Neymar – $95M
  • Kylian Mbappe – $43M
  • Mohamed Salah – $41M
  • Robert Lewandowski – $35M
  • Andres Iniesta – $35M
  • Paul Pogba – $34M
  • Gareth Bale – $32M
  • Eden Hazard – $29M

  • *expected earnings for 2021-22 season
  • Source: Forbes

    But Ronaldo – who is the most popular athlete on social media with more than 500 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, according to Forbes – brings in $55 million in endorsements compared to Messi’s $35 million.

    Messi’s PSG teammates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe sit third and fourth on the list, with the duo expected to earn $95 million and $43 million respectively.

    Neymar, who recently signed a four-year extension, is expected to earn more than Ronaldo in terms of on-field earnings ($75 million) but has nowhere near the same pulling power when it comes to endorsements, forecast to bring in $20 million.

    Overall, the Parisian side owns three of the top five highest-earning players on the planet, as it looks to assemble a team capable of winning the coveted Champions League trophy for the first time.

    Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah makes up the top five, with the Egyptian expected to earn $41 million this season.

    Forbes compiles its list by speaking to clubs, sponsors, player agents and financial experts and estimates the top 10 earners will collect pretax earnings of $585 million this season, an increase on last year’s haul of $570 million.