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

Jose Vega Atop the Leaderboard at the Latin American Amateur Championship

Jose Vega is leading the pack in Mexico…

The 26-year-old Colombian golfer withstood another tough day of wind on Saturday at Mayakoba for a 1-over 72 that gave him a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Latin American Amateur Championship.

Jose Vega

At stake for Vega is a spot in the Mastersat Augusta Nationalin April and in the British Openat Royal St. George’sin July.

Despite a bogey on the final hole at El Camaleon Golf Club, Vega remained the only player under par from the 52 players who made the cut.

He was at 2-under 211.

Abel Gallegosbirdied his last two holes for a 70. He was at even-par 213.

Gabriel Morgan Birke of Chile and Ivan Camilo Ramirez of Colombia, who led after the opening round, were tied for third at 3-over 216.

Vega is a regional sales director for Trackman, the sonar-based device used by top professionals around the world.

Along with spots in two majors, the winner is exempt into the final stage of qualifying for the U.S. Open, and exempt for any USGA amateur event for which he is eligible.

”When I step up on the first tee tomorrow, it’s going to be a grind,” Vega said. ”The one that is going to take the trophy home is the one that makes fewer mistakes.”

Gallegos is a 17-year-old from a small town outside Buenos Aires that has only a nine-hole course. He still was named junior golfer of the year in 2019 for Argentina. This is his first appearance in the Latin American Amateur.

”My goal was to have a chance on Sunday,” Gallegos said. ”I think I fulfilled that. Now I just need to trust myself.”

Jon Rahm Named the 2019 European Tour Golfer of the Year

Jon Rahm is the man of the hour…

The 25-year-old Spanish professional golfer has been named the 2019 European Tour Golfer of the Year.

Jon Rahm

Rahm finished the year as the No. 1-ranked player on the Euro Tourwith victories at the Irish OpenSpanish Open and the World Tour Championshipin Dubai.

He finished second at the BMW PGA Championship and Andalucia Masters.

In the United States, Rahm finished tied for ninth at The Masters and tied for third at the U.S. Open.

Rahm was selected by a panel of golf media. Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who won The Open, finished second in the voting.

Rahm joins Seve Ballesteros (1986, 88, 91) and Sergio Garcia (2017) as the third Spaniard to receive the European Tour’s Golfer of the Year award.

Pablo Larrazabal Wins Alfred Dunhill Championship in Dramatic Fashion

Pablo Larrazabal has pulled off a big win…

The 36-year-old Spanish golfer won the European Tour’s season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship on Sunday after losing a three-shot overnight lead and then making three birdies on his last four holes for a dramatic one-stroke victory.

Pablo Larrazabal

Larrazabal birdied the par-5 No. 18 as he finished 8 under overall and just ahead of Sweden’s Joel Sjoholm.

Larrazabal said he struggled with blisters on his feet throughout the final round, when he fell three shots behind at one point. He made a litany of errors and closed with a 75 after six bogeys and a double bogey, but his rousing finale still enabled him to clinch a fifth European Tour title and first in four years.

Pablo Larrazabal

“I woke up this morning and I didn’t think I was going to play,” Larrazabal said. “I couldn’t put my shoe on, I couldn’t walk to the buggy. I really struggled on the back nine. I have a big blister on my right toe and I said to myself ‘If Tiger [Woods] can win a U.S. Open with a broken leg’ and I just fought hard.”

Larrazabal’s victory at Leopard Creek Country Club came at the event where he began his professional career 12 years ago.

Charl Schwartzel (70) finished tied for third at 6 under on his return to tournament action for the first time in eight months because of a wrist injury. Branden Grace (73) and Wil Besseling (74) were also in that tie for third.

Besseling led or held a share of the lead through much of the final round but he made bogey on the last after his approach flew too far and landed among some rocks behind the green.

That opened the way for Larrazabal to win it on the last. He laid up with his second and then fired his third shot in close to tap in for birdie and the win.

Juan Martin del Potro Advances to Finals at the BNP Paribas Open

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the finals at the BNP Paribas Open

The 29-year-old Argentine tennis player defeated Canada’s Milos Raonic in straight sets to advance to the finals against Roger Federer at Indian Wells on Sunday.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro breezed past No. 32 Raonic 6-2, 6-3 in 66 minutes for his 10th consecutive match victory and the 400th of his injury-plagued career.

“It was surprising to see him [Raonic] serving not too hard, and I broke his serve very quick in both sets,” del Potro said. “That gave me the control of the match.” 

del Potro has fought back from left wrist surgeries in 2014 and 2015 (twice) and another one on his right wrist in 2010 that nearly caused him to quit tennis. He is 16-3 this year with one title in Acapulco.

“I didn’t play him before his injuries, but his backhand was probably one of the things that was overlooked because the forehand was so hard,” Raonic said. “But the backhand, I remember when he won the U.S. Open, he could hit it crosscourt without any guys being able to have the freedom of running around or anything. He’s gotten that back quite a bit.”

del Potro previously appeared in the finals back in 2013, losing to Rafael Nadal 4–6, 6–3, 6–4.

Angel Cabrera & Angel Cabrera Jr. Win PNC Father-Son Challenge

It’s a special family honor for Angel Cabrera and his son…

The 48-year-old Argentine professional golfer and his 26-year-old son Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Angel Cabrera & Angel Cabrera Jr.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday.

The Cabreras went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead when Cabrera’s son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O’Meara and Shaun O’Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn’t even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

“This is certain my best week of the year,” said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. “To play alongside all the legends … as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.”

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O’Meara said Saturday that his “little man” hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, “In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I’m your Daddy!”

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Juan Martin del Potro Defeats Robin Haase at Paris Masters in Quest to Earns Spot at the ATP Finals

Juan Martin del Potro is one step closer to earning a spot in the big show…

The 29-year-old Argentinean tennis star  moved closer to securing the last spot for the season-ending ATP Finals by beating Robin Haase 7-5, 6-4 in the third round at the Paris Masters.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro, who lost to Roger Federer on Sunday in the Swiss Indoors final, is in 10th place in the race to qualify for the tournament.

Only the top eight players will compete in London and there is one place left, to be taken in Paris.

“I would love to reach London once again. It could be a fantastic moment for me,” said del Potro, who was way back in 47th place in the race before the U.S. Open.

“I’m excited to keep improving for this kind of surprise. I love to surprise myself and that’s what I’m doing now.”

del Potro has a tough challenge next, against big-serving John Isner.

The ninth-seeded Isner, last year’s runner-up to Andy Murray, hit 25 aces as he beat sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (10), 5-7, 7-6 (3).

Garcia & Justin Rose Top Leaderboard with One Final Round to Go at The Masters

Sergio Garcia is one day away from snapping his title drought at a major tournament…

The world will be watching Sunday at Augusta National as the 37-year-old Spaniard tries to fend off Masters co-leader Justin Rose, chasers Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth and his own demons to end his 0-for-73 streak in golf’s four most coveted events.

Sergio Garcia

It seems like a century ago that Garcia burst onto the scene as a 19-year-old, battling Tiger Woods shot for shot at the PGA Championship only to fall a stroke short.

He’s had other opportunities at the Masters, the Open Championship, the PGA and U.S. Open. Garcia has finished second in majors four times, placed in the top 10 22 times.

After coming up short in the 2012 Masters, Garcia famously told Spanish reporters he wasn’t good enough to win a major.

He gets the chance to erase his own words on the National’s hallowed grounds in a final round that will certainly not be a day of rest. He and Rose go off in the final group at 2:45 p.m. EDT.

“It was hard but it was fun.” Garcia said Saturday after posting a 2-under-par 70 for a 210 total. “It was fun to play well again, to go through a Saturday at the Masters with a chance at winning, and, you know, to be up there going into tomorrow.”

Garcia looks fit for a green jacket, shaping shots and escaping trouble. He made four birdies and played the back nine two shots under par to set the stage. He and Rose are the only players in the Masters field not to shoot a round over par through 54 holes.

The seemingly star-crossed Garcia even got some fortuitous bounces in Round 3, most notably on the 510-yard, par-5 13th hole. His approach shot wafted weakly over a Rae’s Creek tributary, slid down the hill and miraculously stopped short of the drink. He chipped off the steep bank within a foot, tapped in for birdie and again stands on the brink of a major breakthrough.

“I’ve definitely had some good breaks throughout all three rounds,” Garcia said. “Thirteen was obviously was one of them. I didn’t feel like I hit a bad shot. Obviously I hit a good drive that went into that little first cut of rough, and unfortunately ‑‑ I was hitting plenty of club, but it was one of those things that the ball just came out really soft.  I had enough club to carry on that line, and unfortunately it didn’t.

“But fortunately for me, that bank seems to be a tiny bit longer this year, which is nice.  Because, you know, it gives you the possibility of getting a break like that, and then, you know, I still had to hit a great chip to make 4.  It wasn’t an easy chip.“

Ferrer Defeats Kei Nishikori to Claim His Fourth Mexico Open Title

David Ferrer is El Rey in Mexico…

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis player won his fourth Mexico Open title over the weekend, beating top-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-3, 7-5 in the hard-court event.

David Ferrer

It’s the third title for Ferrer in 2015. He previously won in Doha in January and in Rio de Janeiro earlier in February.

He won his previous Mexico titles — in 2010, 2011 and 2012 — on clay.

“Tonight I played my best match this week,” said Ferrer. “For sure. I played very aggressive, without mistakes. I’m very happy. To win here a fourth time is a dream.

“I tried to play my forehand to his forehand and with more energy. In important moments, he made more mistakes and I took my chances. I feel very confident with my tennis now. I’ve won three tournaments this year and we’ve only began the season.”

As champion, the 24-time ATP World Tour titlist received $343,000 in prize money and 500 Emirates ATP Ranking points.

Nishikori won in Memphis, Tennessee, two weeks ago for his eighth tour title. He lost to Marin Cilic last year in the U.S. Open final.

Soares & Partner Sania Mirza Claim Mixed Doubles Crown at the U.S. Open

Bruno Soares has returned to the winner’s circle at the U.S. Open

The 32-year-old Brazilian tennis player clinched his second mixed doubles title at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

Bruno Soares & Sania Mirza

Soares and his partner Sania Mirza overcame a few anxious moments in the match tie break to win the title.

The top seeded pair squandered five straight championship points before scoring a 6-1 2-6 11-9 win over Abigail Spears of the USA and Santiago Gonzalez of Mexico in exactly 60 minutes.

Spears sent a backhand volley long after making it 9-9 from 4-9, as Soares and Mirza heaved a big sigh of relief.

It was first time that the two were playing together as a pair.

“Playing with him is a lot of fun. He did not play with me all these years not sure why?” gushed Mirza after the win and confirmed that the pairing will continue for the Australian Open.

Soares had previously won the Mixed Doubles title at the U.S. Open in 2012 with Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova.

Soares and Makarova won the title after defeating fourth-seeded Květa Peschke and Marcin Matkowski in the final 6–7(8–10), 6–1, [12–10].