Conor McGregor highest-paid athlete ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Forbes

Conor McGregor was named as Forbes' highest-earning athlete for the first time after accumulating £128m over the last year; Dak Prescott and LeBron James were named in the top five while Neymar and Lewis Hamilton also ranked highly

Conor McGregor
Image: Conor McGregor recently revealed an interest in buying a sports team

Conor McGregor was the world's highest-paid athlete over the last year ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, according to the annual Forbes list.

During the 12-month period ending May 1, 2021, Irish MMA fighter McGregor earned $180m (£128m), a figure which Forbes said includes $158m (£112m) from endorsements and the recent sale of the majority stake of his whiskey brand.

He made just $22m (£15m) inside the Octagon - McGregor lost his rematch against Dustin Poirier in January this year in Abu Dhabi.

It is the 32-year-old's first time at No 1 and his second appearance in the top 10 - McGregor was named at No 4 with $99m (£70m) in 2018 after the fight against Floyd Mayweather.

McGregor recently claimed he had held talks about buying a stake in Celtic from their principal shareholder Dermot Desmond, adding that he could do "big things for a club" and also said that he likes Manchester United.

Lionel Messi reacts to Barcelona's shock Granada defeat
Image: Lionel Messi earned £92m over the last 12 months

Barcelona and Argentina forward Messi was second on the list and set a record as the highest-earning footballer after bringing home $130m (£92m), while Portugal and Juventus forward Ronaldo earned $120m (£85m) to sit third among the top 10 highest-paid athletes.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Image: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott earned $107.5m/£76m to make his way into the top five

NFL quarterback Dak Prescott ($107.5 m/£76m) of the Dallas Cowboys and four-times NBA champion LeBron James ($96.5 million) rounded off the top five.

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LeBron James
Image: LeBron James finished in the top five of Forbes' list of highest paid athletes

Just outside the top five were PSG and Brazil forward Neymar at sixth ($95m/£67.5m), 20-time tennis Grand Slam champion Roger Federer at seventh ($90m/£64m), and seven-time F1 championship winner Lewis Hamilton ($82m/£58m) finished eighth in the list.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady with $76m (£54m) and Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant $75m (£53m) made up the rest of the top 10.

Image: Lewis Hamilton earned an estimated £58m in the last 12 months

Forbes said its on-the-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned during the 12-month period while off-the-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income.

In April, Barcelona topped the Forbes list for the 20 most valuable football clubs at £3.46bn ($4.76bn), narrowly ahead of their La Liga rivals Real Madrid's valuation of £3.45bn ($4.75bn).

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