Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s highest-paid athlete, has been awarded the world’s highest-paid athlete in Forbes’ annual rich list after earning an amazing £109 million in the previous year.
In January, the 38-year-old signed a record-breaking £175 million-per-year contract with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr.
That lucrative switch has propelled him back to the top of Forbes’ athlete rich list for the first time since 2017 and the third time in his career, with an overall income of $136 million (£109 million), the highest figure ever earned by a footballer.
Forbes estimates that $46 million (£37 million) of the money has come from on-field endorsements, which “blends together his two contracts for this season and accounts for his brief unemployment,” while nearly double the amount has come from off-field endorsements.
Only three athletes in Forbes’ history have earned more than $90 million (£72 million) off the field in a single year: Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, and Conor McGregor.
Behind Ronaldo in second place is his long-time rival Lionel Messi, who drops a spot after topping the list last year.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar earned $130 million (£104 million), the same amount he made in 2022, with his on- and off-field earnings split evenly.
Another football sensation, Messi’s PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, comes in third position after earning $120 million (£96 million) in the last 12 months, including $100 million (£80 million) earned on the field.
Mbappe, the only player on the list under the age of 30, earns the highest wage in international football at the Parc des Princes, earning an astounding £63 million every year.
The 24-year-old is the last footballer in the top 10, followed by basketball legend LeBron James ($119.5 million/£95 million) and boxing legend Canelo Alvarez ($110 million/£88 million).
Dustin Johnson is sixth with $107 million (£86 million), $102 million (£90 million) of which came from competition, just ahead of Phil Mickelson in seventh with $106 million (£85 million).
Another basketball player, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, is currently the world’s eighth highest-paid athlete, earning $100.4 million (£81 million).
Despite earning only $100,000 (£80,000) of his total income of $95.1 million (£76 million) on the court, Roger Federer is the only tennis celebrity in ninth place.
Federer announced his retirement from professional tennis in September, but the Swiss legend maintains a number of lucrative off-court agreements, including a licensing agreement for his RF brand with eyeglasses manufacturer Oliver Peoples.
A third basketball figure, Phoenix Suns player Kevin Durant ($89.1 million/£72 million), rounds out the list.
According to Forbes, their on-field earnings ‘include all prize money, salaries, and bonuses earned between May 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023,’ while their off-field earnings are based on ‘an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees, and memorabilia and licensing income for the 12 months leading up to May 1, 2023, plus cash returns from any businesses operated by the athlete,’
THE WORLD’S 10 HIGHEST-PAID ATHLETES (FORBES)
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $136million (£109million)
2. Lionel Messi – $130million (£104million)
3. Kylian Mbappe – $120million (£96million)
4. LeBron James – $119.5million (£95million)
5. Canelo Alvarez – $110million (£88million)
6. Dustin Johnson – $107million (£86million)
7. Phil Mickelson – $106million (£85million)
8. Stephen Curry – $100.4million (£81million)
9. Roger Federer – $95.1million (£76million)
10. Kevin Durant – $89.1million (£72million)