Barcelona may have had a dismal season on the pitch in which they failed to win silverware for the first time in 12 years, but Messi was still comfortably their best player and earned a reported £98m over the past 12 months.
A few weeks ago, the Argentine shocked the Blaugrana when he asked for the termination of his contract, allowing him to speak to other clubs.
Barca refused, and Messi subsequently changed his mind to stay on his current contract which will expire next summer.
The earnings within the list calculated by Forbes are salaries plus endorsements.
Paris Saint-German duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who are the two most expensive players in the history of the sport, make it into second and third.
Both enjoyed a good season in Paris as they helped the club to their first ever Champions League final, where they would eventually lose to Bayern.
Gareth Bale, who has barely played for Real Madrid this season, still earned £22.6m.
The World's Highest Paid Footballers
Salary + Endorsements last 12 months
|6||Paul Pogba||Man Utd||£26.5m|
|8||Gareth Bale||Real Madrid||£22.6m|
|10||David De Gea||Man Utd||£21m|