The best-paid Latin American athletes this 2020

The economic cuts caused by the pandemic have not been an excuse for these Latino athletes to continue to gain tens of millions of dollars .

Neymar Jr and Oscar Emboaba

We tell you which soccer players generate the highest income. / Photos: instagram.com/neymarjr, instagram.com/oscar_emboaba

LatinamericanPost| Juan Manuel Bacallado

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Leer en español: Los deportistas latinoamericanos mejor pagados este 2020

A multibillion-dollar industry like sports could not escape the coronavirus crisis either, being directly affected due to sport stoppages and suspensions from multiple events such as the Copa América and Eurocopa as well as the Tokyo Olympics. In addition, the resumption of competitions without an audience meant a financial problem since the income generated by tickets and in other cases by television rights was lost. Additionally, many teams had to cut the millionaire salaries of their players. Even so, the figures that the most successful Latin American athletes earned are still high, mainly thanks to the income they receive from sponsorships and the use of their image.

For 2020, Forbes magazine, specialized in financial issues and in this type of ranking, updated last May the list of athletes who earn the most money today, registering a 9% decrease in total income between the 100 athletes on the list for a total of  $ 3.6 billion. This drop in revenue has not occurred since 2016, according to Forbes. There is also another curiosity, and that is that for the first time in his more than 20-year career, the Swiss tennis player Roger Federer is at the top of the ranking with 106 million dollars before taxes, of which 100 million come from sponsorships. Federer rose from fifth place and became the only tennis player to have reached that position since the list was created in 1990 according to GQ.

This does not mean that the salaries of these athletes have fallen to the same level as those of the average worker. However, in this case we review the 5 Latin American athletes who dominate the list.

5) Alexis Sánchez

Perhaps the presence of the Chilean striker in fifth place in the ranking may seem unexpected to many, taking into account that Alexis has not seen many minutes of play in the Manchester United football team -a club that decided not to cut wages-, so in August 2019 he was loaned to Inter Milan where injuries have affected him and prevented him from playing half of the matches. However, the Chilean came to United under a millionaire salary, which according to Forbes reaches $ 24.6 million , which added to the $ 1 million in sponsorships mainly from Nike, places him as the 69th athlete highest paid in the world at 31 years old.

4) Oscar

“Me da igual si no voy a la Copa del Mundo por jugar en China. Estoy aquí para mantener a mi familia. No quiero ser un viejo pobre y vivir del recuerdo de haber jugado un Mundial.”

–Oscar (Shanghai SIPG FC) pic.twitter.com/ijgOQtEP72

— TodoDeportes® (@TodoDeportesCol) March 13, 2018

Another surprise in the ranking is that the “jewel” of Brazilian football disappeared from the map when he agreed to leave Chelsea FC to sign for the Chinese club Shanghai SIPG in late 2016, which generated some controversy in which he was accused of preferring the money before competing. In fact, Oscar assured in 2018 that he had chosen Chinese football for the great financial offer they made him and that he took advantage of it because he deserved it, according to what was outlined in 90 Min. Oscar records an income of 27.5 million dollars, of which 25.8 come from his salary as a footballer and the rest from his sponsorship with Adidas and other brands. It should be noted that the Chinese government has regulated wages for athletes from the Asian country, so Oscar could not renew his contract -which expires this year- with the same salary. Currently, Oscar is ranked 56 in the ranking.

3) Saúl Álvarez

De ganar 800 pesos en su debut profesional, a firmar un contrato con DAZN por 5 años a cambio de 365 millones de dólares

Esta noche, Canelo Álvarez tiene garantizados 33 millones de dólares

Así han crecido las bolsas económicas del mexicano desde 2012 #CaneloJacobs pic.twitter.com/L9zah1InAY

— SoyReferee (@SoyReferee) May 5, 2019

The only Mexican on the list is the professional boxer who has accumulated 53 victories and only 2 defeats - one against the undefeated Floyd Mayweather - as well as various middleweight world titles that he has defended victoriously. "El Canelo" as the boxer is known, skyrocketed his income when in 2018 he signed a 5-year contract with DAZN, a sports streaming service, in exchange for $ 365 million. For the year 2020 - in which he has not yet fought - Canelo has earned 37 million dollars in total, of which 2 million belong to his sponsorships with DAZN, Everlast and LVHM, making him the 30th highest-paid athlete in the world.

2) Neymar Jr.

In addition to holding the record as the most expensive signing in football history after being sold to Paris Saint Germain for $ 263 million in 2017 , Neymar Jr. also has a large salary that Forbes translates into $ 70.5 million between salary and bonuses as well as about $ 25 million in endorsements spread between Nike, DAZN, Beats, Gillette, Mastercard, Electronic Arts, TCL and Red Bull. It should be noted that PSG together with its players cut 50% of wages due to the pandemic crisis that brought about the cancellation of the French league according to CNN, although in the same way the Brazilian managed to add a total of $ 95.5 million and to be the fourth highest paid athlete.

Also Read: Latin Fortune: 7 Latin American billionaires on the Forbes list

1) Lionel Messi

Without a doubt it was impossible to make this ranking without mentioning Lio Messi. Despite the fact that the Argentine playmaker has played his entire professional career for FC Barcelona, his talent and performance have allowed him to earn large amounts of money. Although the team's payroll reached an agreement to reduce 70% of salary in the months of the Alarm State in Spain, Messi has also managed to earn 72 million dollars in salary and bonuses as well as 32 million in sponsorships, mainly with Adidas in addition to Gatorade, Pepsi, Mastercard, Huawei among others, which nets him a total of 104 million dollars and makes him the third athlete who earns the most money in the world, only behind Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo.