Thursday, 18 April

Forbes: Cristiano Ronaldo highest paid athlete among top 10 most expensive sports stars

Sports News
Ronaldo plays his football in Saudi Arabia - and it seems to have paid off. Pic: AP

Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the world's highest paid athlete, thanks to a big money move to Saudi Arabia, according to Forbes.

His salary, thought to be in the region of $75m (£59m) a year, and his off the pitch activities, earned him around $136m (£108m) in the last year - the highest of any athlete on Earth, Forbes magazine has estimated.

It's part of the business magazine's annual collation of sports stars, which maps out who the money is going to in professional sport.

Down from first last year and coming second is Argentina's captain Lionel Messi, who had an estimated income of around $130m (£103m) in the 12 months.

Messi, who captained his country to victory at last year's World Cup, has a hefty wage bill at Paris Saint-Germain, and rumours suggest he could be eyeing a move to join Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, where he was pictured earlier this week.

He also has brand deals with the likes of PepsiCo and Budweiser, as well sponsorships from tech firms.

Kylian Mbappe joins his Paris Saint-Germain teammate by nabbing third place in Forbes' list with earnings of $120m (£95m).

He is the highest salaried footballer in the world, and his endorsements include a cryptocurrency-based fantasy football game.

In fourth is LeBron James, the LA Lakers player, who has also carved out a successful business portfolio.

With earnings of around $119.5m (£95m) in the last year, his income consisted of his $44.5m basketball salary, as well as his film production work, sports investment (he is an investor in the firm that owns Liverpool FC) and nutrition brands.

Boxer Canelo Alvarez is fifth ($110m/£87m), raking millions of dollars for every fight he takes part in, as well as having brand deals with whiskey and beer companies.

Captain Dustin Johnson of 4Aces GC seen on the 16th hole during the final round of LIV Golf Singapore at the Sentosa Golf Club on Sunday, Apr. 30, 2023 in Sentosa, Singapore. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/LIV Golf via AP)

| Dustin Johnson has boosted his earnings thanks to his controversial defection to LIV Golf. Pic: AP

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant, right, drives past Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon in the second half of Game 2 of an NBA second-round playoff series Monday, May 1, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

| Kevin Durant (R) is one of the highest paid NBA stars in the US. Pic: AP

Dustin Johnson, who has defected to the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour, is in sixth place on the list, with earnings of $107m (£85).

Fellow LIV golfer Phil Mickelson is in seventh place with an income last year of $106m (£84m), and NBA star Stephen Curry is eighth, with $100.4m (£80m).

Ninth is tennis icon Roger Federer, who recently announced his retirement from the sport, with an income made mostly from sponsorships of roughly $95.1m (£75m), and rounding out the list is another NBA star, Kevin Durant, who made $89.1m (£71m) from his basketball salary and investments in sporting endeavours.

Seven sporting stars on the list were there in 2022, with only Kylian Mbappe, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickleson being new additions.

The magazine takes into account all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned between 1 May 2022 and 1 May 2023, along with an estimated income from sponsorships - taxes are not taken into account.

Source: