Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi is the world’s highest paid athlete, earning $US127 million in the past 12 months, according to the Forbes top 100 ranking.

Juventus’s Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo is second on $US109 million with Paris St-Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar in third.

Last year’s highest earner, boxer Floyd Mayweather, has dropped off the list.

Serena Williams is the only woman in the top 100, earning $US29 million.

Five-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and former heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua are the highest earning British athletes.