Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi is the world's highest paid athlete earning $US127m in the past 12 months.
According to the Forbes top 100 ranking Juventus's Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is second on $US109m with Paris St‑Germain's Brazil forward Neymar in third on $US105m.
Last year's highest earner boxer Floyd Mayweather, has dropped off the list because athletes had to earn a minimum of $US25m in the last 12 months to make this year's list.
The American boxer's only fight since August 2017 was an exhibition boxing bout against Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in December.
Serena Williams is the only woman in the top 100 earning $29.2m.
The American business magazine calculated the athletes' earnings by adding up their prize money, salaries and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019.
Messi is only the second footballer to top the rankings after Ronaldo and only the eighth different athlete to take the number one spot since the rankings began in 1990.
It is also the first time that footballers have ranked as the top three earners in sports.
Messi is one of 38 non‑American athletes on the list, with 62 US stars in the top 100.
1. Lionel Messi $US127m
2. Cristiano Ronaldo $US109m
3. Neymar $US105m
4. Canelo Alvarez $US94m
5. Roger Federer $US93.4m
6. Russell Wilson $US89.5m
7. Aaron Rodgers $US89.3m
8. LeBron James $US89m
9. Stephen Curry $US79.8m
10. Kevin Durant $US65.4m
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