Five footballers in the top ten highest-paid athletes in the world

Cristiano Ronaldo is also the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2024. The Portuguese star rose to the top spot for the first time since 2017 last year due to his transfer to Al Nassr, as calculated by the American business magazine Forbes, and he retains that position.

Five footballers in the top ten highest-paid athletes in the world Embed from Getty Images

Ronaldo will earn a record amount of over 239 million euros this calendar year. His paycheck at Al Nassr is nearly 200 million euros per season, and the rest of the enormous sum comes from sponsorship income.

This salary is more than sufficient to repay the 19.9 million euros he owes to Juventus in the short term. Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr has not only boosted his earnings but also significantly raised the profile of the Saudi Pro League, attracting more attention and potential investment to the region.

Lionel Messi (36) is in third place on the list, behind golf professional Jon Rahm. His move to America has been very lucrative, with an income of over sixty million euros and an additional nearly seventy million from other sources. Although, reportedly, he could have earned even more in Saudi Arabia, Messi chose a different path, joining Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS). This move has not only enriched him financially but also increased the visibility and popularity of MLS, drawing fans and media attention from around the world.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé (over one hundred million euros), Neymar (99.46 million), and Karim Benzema (97.63 million) are the other footballers on the list. The latter two are new to the top ten, while no footballers have dropped out compared to last year. Mbappé, the only player on the list active in European leagues, has dropped a few spots, as the Frenchman was in third place last year. Despite the drop, Mbappé remains one of the most marketable athletes globally, with substantial earnings from both his PSG salary and numerous high-profile endorsements.

Neymar's inclusion in the top ten comes as he continues to command a massive salary at PSG, coupled with substantial income from his sponsorship deals. His flair and skill on the pitch, combined with his social media presence, make him a valuable asset for brands seeking global exposure.

Karim Benzema, now playing for Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, has seen his earnings skyrocket following his move from Real Madrid. The lucrative contract in Saudi Arabia has propelled him into the top ten, highlighting the financial muscle of the Saudi Pro League in attracting top talent from Europe.

The presence of athletes from other sports, such as LeBron James (118.03 million euros), Giannis Antetokounmpo (102.22 million euros), Stephen Curry (93.95 million euros), and Lamar Jackson (92.23 million euros), underscores the diverse earning potential across different sports. LeBron James, for instance, continues to dominate both on and off the basketball court with his NBA salary and extensive business ventures, including endorsements and investments.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, known as the "Greek Freak," has become one of the NBA's most dominant players, and his earnings reflect his status. His endorsements and recent championship with the Milwaukee Bucks have significantly boosted his income.

Stephen Curry, a pivotal figure in the NBA, not only earns from his lucrative contract with the Golden State Warriors but also from his extensive endorsement deals and entrepreneurial ventures. His impact on the sport and his marketability continue to drive his earnings.

Lamar Jackson, an NFL superstar, rounds out the top ten. His earnings come from his contract with the Baltimore Ravens and various endorsements, showcasing the financial opportunities available to top-performing athletes in American football.

Top ten (in euros):

Cristiano Ronaldo 239.27 million
Jon Rahm 200.62 million
Lionel Messi 124.30 million
LeBron James 118.03 million
Giannis Antetokounmpo 102.22 million
Kylian Mbappé 101.30 million
Neymar 99.46 million
Karim Benzema 97.63 million
Stephen Curry 93.95 million
Lamar Jackson 92.23 million
These earnings highlight the immense financial rewards available at the highest levels of professional sports, driven by a combination of salaries, endorsements, and other business ventures. The diverse representation of sports in this list also reflects the global appeal and marketability of these athletes.

Updated: 03:07, 16 May 2024

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