Lionel Messi: The World’s Highest Paid Latino Athlete

Lionel Messi is breaking the bank…

The 32-year-old Argentine soccer star is the highest-paid Latino on Forbes’ list of this year’s The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes.

Lionel Messi

Messi comes in at No. 3 on the list, behind Roger Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo, with earning reported at $104 million.

The Futbol Club Barcelona star’s earnings includes his $72 million salary with his team, as well as  $32 million in endorsements, including his lifelong deal with Adidas.

Nipping on Messi’s heels… Neymar.

The 28-year-old Brazilian footballer, on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022 worth $350 million, comes in at No. 4 with combined earnings of $95.5 million. 

Nike‘s Jordan Brand signed Neymar as its first soccer ambassador in 2016. In March 2020, its film unit released a movie about his life.

Messi and Ronaldo had previously held the No. 1 spot in three of the past four years.

Rafael Nadal comes in at No. 27 on the list.

The 33-year-old tennis star has combined earnings of $40 million. The greatest clay court player of his generation captured two of Grand Slam titles in 2019, his 12th French Open title and fourth U.S. Open.

Here’s a look at the Latino athletes making this year’s top earners list.

No. 3:  Lionel Messi, Soccer, Argentine, $104 million
No. 4:  Neymar, Soccer, Brazil, $95.5 million
No. 27:  Rafael Nadal, Tennis, Spain, $40 million
No. 30:  Canelo Alvarez, Boxing, Mexico, $37 million
No. 46:  Andres Iniesta, Soccer, Spain, $29.6 million
No. 56: Oscar, Soccer, Brazil, $27.5 million
No. 67: David de Gea, Soccer, Spain,  $25.7 million
No. 69: Alexis Sanchez, Soccer, Chile, $25.6 million
No. 79: Al Horford, Basketball, Dominican Republic, $24.4 million
No. 100: Sergio Ramos, Soccer, Spain, $21.8 million

Rafael Nadal Defeats Taylor Fritz to Win Mexican Open

Rafael Nadal has won his first title of the year…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star raced to victory in the Mexican Open on Saturday night, dispatching Taylor Fritz in straight sets in Acapulco.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal dropped his racquet, launched his arms in elation and looked up into the night after a 6-3, 6-2 triumph on a hard court against the overmatched 22-year-old American.

Nadal finished 63% in first serves and went 3-of-7 on break points. It was his third career title at the Mexican Open, having also won in 2005 and 2013. Overall, it was his 85th career championship, and the first of this season.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Nadal said. “I played a great event from the beginning to the end. Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing. I can’t thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time.”

Fritz managed 10 aces in the loss, and had no double faults, yet couldn’t keep up with Nadal’s combination of efficiency and power.

“He’s one of the best players to ever play the game, and he showed me why that is tonight,” Fritz said. “This is one of my favorite tournaments to come to every year. I’m just glad that I could have a good week at one of my favorite events. I felt a lot of love all week.”

Rafael Nadal Pledges AUD $250,000 for Australia Bushfire Relief Efforts During Rally for Relief

Rafael Nadal is swinging for a cause…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star was among some of tennis’ biggest names gathered in Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday to raise funds for Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis.

Rafael Nadal Rally for Relief

Raising nearly 5 million Australian dollars ($3.5 million), Nadal, Serena WilliamsNovak DjokovicRoger FedererCaroline Wozniacki and a number of up-and-coming stars at the Rally for Relief gave the capacity crowd of more than 15,000 fans the opportunity to see the lighter side of the competitive sport.

Nadal and the gang volunteered their time for the cause. On several occasions, volunteer fire personnel took to the court to play against the tennis stars.

Australian’s Nick Kyrgiosplayed a role in kick-starting the wave of relief. His Twitterpledge of $200 per ace throughout the Australian summer inspired colleagues into action, prompting Tennis Australiato announce the Rally for Relief evening.

During the event, Federerand Nadal announced they’d contribute 250,000 Australian dollars to the cause.

Kyrgios said he “got goose bumps” when the figure was announced after his one-set match with Federer on the night.

“It’s been an emotional couple of weeks. I just wanted to send a message. … I was eating dinner and wrote a tweet … and it kind of exploded,” he said on court after the event. “When I was back home in Canberra, I couldn’t even go outside [due to the smoke].”

Federer said he and other players were only too happy to help out a nation in which he spends nearly one month of the year.

“It’s been hard to watch,” Federer said. “As you get it through the news, you don’t know how bad it is, but then you get here and speak to the people affected, it’s difficult. I’m always happy to help and lend my money and do my fair share.”

Roberto Bautista Agut Helps Lead Spain into ATP Cup Quarterfinals

Roberto Bautista Agut’s (ATP) cup runneth over…

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Japan’s Go Soeda 6-2, 6-4 to help Spain advance to the quarterfinals of the ATP Cup on Wednesday at Perth Arena.

Roberto Bautista Agut

Spain, which won the Davis Cup in Madrid last year with a victory over Canada, is still in the hunt for its second international team victory in seven weeks.

Japan needed to beat Spain 3-0 in order for the Rafael Nadal-led team not to advance to the Final Eight, beginning Thursday in Sydney. Nadal later had a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over 72nd-ranked Yoshihito Nishioka.

“I always enjoy sharing important moments with friends, and we had a lot of success during our entire careers playing for our country in Davis Cup,” Nadal said. “So for us it’s a good start, to be able to be qualified for Sydney already. The conditions will be different, and a three-hour time [difference]. There’s a lot of things we need to adjust to, and the period of time to make it happen is very short.”

The quarterfinal lineup has Australia playing Britain and Argentina taking on Russia on Thursday. On Friday, Serbia plays Canada and Belgium takes on Spain, all at Ken Rosewall Arena at Sydney Olympic Park.

The semifinals are set for Saturday and the final on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal to Take Part in ‘Rally for Relief’ Charity Event to Raise Funds for Australian Bushfire Relief

Rafael Nadalis ready to swing his racquet for a good cause…

The 33-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will take part in a charity event ahead of the Australian Open that will have a new air quality policy as organizers grapple with issues related to the bushfire crisis.

Rafael Nadal

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley announced on Wednesday that the Rally for Relief will be held onRod Laver Arena on the evening of January 15 with proceeds going to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

Nadal will take part alongside Roger FedererSerena WilliamsNick KyrgiosNaomi OsakaCaroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“For a period of about two-and-a-half hours we’re going to be showcasing the game, but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort,” Tiley said

“I’m really proud of the playing group because the number of calls and emails I’ve got with everyone stepping forward and either giving money or making themselves available.

“The format is going to be pretty cool … it’s going to be a combination of fun and seriousness.

“We’ll see some doubles, we’ll see some singles, some target hitting and opportunities to raise more money on the night.

“We’ll see the players having a lot of fun.”

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster with all proceeds going to bushfire disaster relief charities.

Tiley also confirmed the Open will go ahead as scheduled with an air quality policy in place after concerns had been raised about the potential for smoke from bushfires burning in Victoria’s east to affect the health of players and fans.

“This is a new experience for not only us but across the world in this sport,” Tiley said.

“But we lead the world with the extreme heat policy and we expect to do the same around air quality.

“We do have three stadiums with roofs so play will always continue.

“But what will be new is that we will have some real-time (air quality) monitoring on-site … and we’ll use that analysis to make some decisions around the safety and well-being of players and fans.

“… I think the players understand that this is not something that we can do anything about and they’ve been gracious and very cooperative.

“They want to play.”

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Stefanos Tsitsipas to Win Record Fifth Title at Mubadala World Tennis Championship

Rafael Nadal is ending the year with a bang…

The 33-year-Spanish tennis star and current World No. 1 capped off 2019 by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in a marathon final at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.

Rafael Nadal

In the process, Nadal became the first player to win the championship five times as he overcame Tsitsipas 6-7 (3-7) 7-5 7-6 (7-3) in a dramatic final.

Having beat Novak Djokovicon Friday, ATP Finalschampion Tsitsipas looked well on his way to capping off a brilliant 2019 with a maiden triumph in the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi when he came from a break down to win the first set.

But it was Nadal who rallied to claim the title on a tie-break at the culmination of a thrilling encounter which lasted over three hours.

Nadal saved two break points in each of his first two service games and another three to thwart the Greek and level at 3-3.

It was Nadal who claimed the elusive first break to go 5-4 up, but he failed to serve out the set, making a string of errors as Tsitsipas got back on serve.

The momentum was with the world number six, who charged into a 5-2 lead in the tie-break and took the set when Nadal netted a forehand, having been disgruntled when he was forced to replay a point he had on his racket when Tsitsipas challenged.

Nadal started the second set with a hold to love and the two served up high-quality rallies, but break-point opportunities were not forthcoming until Tsitsipas had two chances to go 5-4 up.

A battling Nadal stood firm with a defiant hold, before capitalising on his first break point to level proceedings.

Tsitsipas passed up another two chances to break at the start of the decider and Nadal made him pay, breaking to go 4-2 up, only for the youngster to immediately break back.

Yet Tsitsipas’ efforts ultimately proved fruitless, with Nadal, who took a 4-1 lead in the tie-break before losing successive points, holding his nerve to secure victory on his first match point.

Rafael Nadal’s ATP Cup Mural Unveiled in Perth

Rafael Nadal’s face has found a special home Down Under

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, is one of the players being honored with a special mural in Perth, Australia.

Rafael Nadal Mural

The inaugural ATP Cupis set to take place between January 3-12 in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, bringing together some of the world’s leading players in both singles and doubles from 24 countries. 

Weeks before the start of the action, Nodal got his mural in Perth together with Kei Nishikori and other stars, with the organizers welcoming the 19-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal is among those who’ll fight for the crown together with his teammates, fresh after conquering the first edition of the Davis Cup Finalsin Madrid.

Spain is the favorite to reach the quarters from Group B, battling against Japan, Uruguay and Georgia at RAC Arena in Perth and hoping to continue the competition in Sydney where eight strongest teams continue the quest for the title in the second stage of the event.

Backed by Roberto Bautista AugtPablo Carreno BustaAlbert Ramos-Vinolas and Feliciano Lopez, Nadal is eager to lead Spain towards another team competition crown, shining in front of the home fans in Madrid with eight victories from as many rubbers and delivering the sixth Davis Cup title for Spain.

In what was a wild race towards the finish line, Nadal and Djokovic fought for the year-end no. 1 spot for almost the entire season, with the Spaniard making the deciding move in Montreal and the US Open and keeping the lead in the ATP Raceuntil the ATP Finalswhere they both lost in the round-robin stage.

Rafa and Novak will continue their rivalry at the ATP Cup, joined by Gael MonfilsKei NishikoriDavid GoffinAndy Murray, Grigor DimitrovAlexander ZverevDenis ShapovalovFelix Auger-AliassimeNick KyrgiosAlex de MinaurDaniil MedvedevKaren KhachanovJohn IsnerMatteo BerrettiniFabio FogniniDominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzmanand others.

Rafael Nadal Wins International Tennis Federation’s Sportsmanship Award

Rafael Nadalis a good sport…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, and the world’s top-ranked player, has won his second consecutive Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award and third overall.

Rafael Nadal

The award, which was announced Thursday, is based on voting by other players.

The International Tennis Federationalso announced its year-end awards, with year-end No. 1s Nadal and Ashleigh Bartynamed ITF World Champions.

It’s Nadal’s fourth selection and Barty’s first.

Rafael Nadal Leads Spain to Davis Cup Title Over Canada

Rafael Nadalhas helped Spain win big…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, ranked No. 1 in the world, risked injury by playing eight matches — five singles, three doubles — in six days at the Davis Cup Finals, the new World Cup of tennis.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal won all of them, leading Spain to its sixth Davis Cup title after a 2-0 win over first-time finalist Canada on Sunday.

But in Nadal’s view, the only hero for Spain was grieving teammate Roberto Bautista Agut. He sent Spain on its way to victory by winning the first singles match on Sunday, three days after the death of his father.

“I’ve won the eight matches but the person who was vital in this Davis Cup was Roberto,” Nadal said. “For me, what he did was something almost inhuman. I don’t know how to explain it. It will be an example for the rest of my life. He had to leave, then his dad died, then he came back and practiced with us yesterday, and today he was ready again to play at a very high level. It was something incredible.”

Spain Davis Cup

Before Nadal defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 7-6 (7) to clinch the title — Spain’s first since also winning at home in 2011 — Bautista Agut had given Spain a 1-0 lead by beating Felix Auger-Aliassime7-6 (3), 6-3.

Bautista Agut pointed his finger to the sky after winning the final point in his match, and was in tears while speaking briefly to the crowd, which chanted his name. And he was the Spanish player lifting the cup in the title celebrations.

Bautista Agut’s father died on Thursday — a day after his son had defeated Nikola Mektic of Croatia — with his health deteriorating quickly after an illness that stemmed from a 2016 accident.

Bautista Agut, No. 9 in the world, played as teammates Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers nursed injuries entering the final.

As for Nadal, he considered himself lucky to be able to play all matches.

“It’s true that I held up, but we know that playing so many matches in this [hard-court] surface is risky for me, something can happen at any time,” Nadal said. “That’s how it’s been in the past, but luckily I held up.”

Spain’s Granollers and Feliciano Lopezhad been scheduled to face Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisilin the now-canceled doubles match, although Nadal was likely to play if the title had been at stake. Nadal played in the decisive doubles on Friday and Saturday.

Voted the tournament’s best player, Nadal sealed the title with his 29th straight Davis Cup singles win, igniting the home crowd’s celebrations.

Tournament organizer and Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, his wife Shakira — who performed in the closing ceremony — and Spanish King Felipe VI were among those celebrating Spain’s triumph.

Spain’s other Davis Cup titles were in 2000, ’04, ’08, ’09 and ’11.

The new Davis Cup Finals is the result of a 25-year partnership between the International Tennis Federation and the Kosmos group co-founded by Pique.

Rafael Nadal to Compete at the ATP Cup in January

Rafael Nadalwill be spending the New Year Down Under

The ATP says all top 10 ranked players, including the 33-year-old Spanish tennis star and recent US Open championNovak Djokovic and Roger Federer, have committed to play in the inaugural ATP Cup in Australia in January.

Rafael Nadal

The organization said the top 18 ranked countries and Australia, as the host-country wild card, will be among the qualifiers for the tournament to be held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from January 3-12. Serbia leads the current rankings, with Spain second, Switzerland third and Russia fourth.

The ATP said the top two players for each country have committed to play, subject to change based on the ATP Rankings at the second entry deadline on November 13, when remaining team members — up to an additional three players — will qualify.

Five additional countries also will qualify to compete at the 24-country tournament based on the ranking of their No. 1 singles player.

Countries will be drawn into one of six groups Monday when the official draw is held at the Sydney Opera House.

The group stages of the ATP Cup will be hosted in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney over six days. Eight countries will then play at the ATP Cup Final Eightin Sydney that will feature quarterfinals over two days, semifinals and a final. Each match will be two singles and one doubles.