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Here are the Top 10 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World

With countries like Saudi Arabia making huge investments in the world of sports, athletes are making a windfall.
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Yasser Bakhsh (C) Getty Images | Harry How (R) Getty Images | Megan Briggs
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Yasser Bakhsh (C) Getty Images | Harry How (R) Getty Images | Megan Briggs

Game of Paychecks

Getty Images | Photo by Clive Brunskill
Getty Images | Photo by Clive Brunskill

Athletes were always paid fairly in the history of sports. However, it is only in recent years that these athletes are truly signing mammoth contracts. Besides these contracts, their fortune also accounts for the numerous brand endorsements and other ventures they are a part of. Forbes released their list of the top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world and the major takeaway from this year's list was the influence of Saudi Arabia who launched their own LIV Golf tour that attracted big names from the PGA while the soccer team AL Nassr signing Cristiano Ronaldo. Here's a look at the top 10.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Getty Images | 	Yasser Bakhsh
Getty Images | Yasser Bakhsh

It is a known fact that Ronaldo is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world and Forbes recently confirmed that he indeed is the richest athlete currently. Ronaldo's current salary that he receives from the Saudi club Al Nassr is an astounding $136 million. The player makes another $90 million from his new sponsorship with Binance which is a cryptocurrency exchange. His current net worth is around 850 million, which makes him the highest-paid player of all time!

2. Lionel Messi

Getty Images | 	Megan Briggs
Getty Images | Megan Briggs

The player was only 17 when he started out as one of the players of FC Barcelona, the club he left after 17 long years for Paris Saint-Germain in August 2022. With around $130 million in pre-tax over the last few months, he comes in at the second position of the list. The outlet however revealed that Messi's salary has come down by $22 million since. It was also reported that around half of his future is attributed to his earnings from outside the field that comes from various brand endorsements and other business ventures.

3. Kylian Mbappe

Getty Images | 	Julian Finney
Getty Images | Julian Finney

The youngest player to be on the list today is the 24-year-old Kylian Mbappe who was fortunate enough to bag the World Cup at the tender age of 19. Forbes reported that the French player earned around $128 million in 2022-23. A majority of his earnings are attributed to the club salary that he gets from PSG. Mbappe also earns money off the field with brands like Oakley and Hublot gigs. His net worth is estimated to be around $180 million.

4. LeBron James

Getty Images | 	Alberto E. Rodriguez
Getty Images | Alberto E. Rodriguez

James was the first ever active athlete to become a certified billionaire last June. According to Insider, LeBron has made over $400 million in his 20-year-long career. In addition to his NBA salary, he also earns a staggering $80 million a year from brand endorsements. Some of the major endorsements include AT&T, Walmart, Intel and Kia. Perhaps the one brand deal that stands out is his long-term partnership with Nike, the brand even built a whole facility for him.

5. Canelo Álvarez

Getty Images | 	Isaiah Vazquez
Getty Images | Isaiah Vazquez

The Mexican professional Boxer's windfall came from his fights against Dmitry Bivol and Gennadiy Golovkin and is known to make most of his money in the ring rather than from brand endorsements. The boxer has only lost one match in his entire boxing career so far. The famous boxer is worth a cool $210 million. The four-division world champion earned around $90 million in 2021. 

6. Dustin Johnson

Getty Images | 	Andrew Redington
Getty Images | Andrew Redington

Johnson is one of the two players in the world of golf who earned a nine-figure paycheck in the last 12 months after signing with the Saudi-backed organization. Johnson joined the LIV Golf in 2022 for a mammoth fee of $35.6 million in weekly earnings and bonuses as he won in the league's first season. The contract guaranteed him around $150 million to move from PGA to LIV. Dustin Johnson lost his primary sponsor, Royal Bank Of Canada upon making the decision to move. His net worth is estimated to be around $100 million.

7. Phil Mickelson

Getty Images | Ross Kinnaird
Getty Images | Ross Kinnaird

Another player who moved to LIV Golf was Phil Mickelson who reportedly received around $200 million to join in 2022. The 52-year-old player has a net worth of $300 million and has earned more than $100 million in just tournament prizes. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the golfer earns around $50 in endorsements and is ranked the second highest-paid golfer coming after Tiger Woods. Some of his notable endorsements include KPMG, ExxonMobil, Ford, Callaway, Angen, and more.

8. Steph Curry

Getty Images | 	Isaiah Vazquez
Getty Images | Isaiah Vazquez

He is one of the few athletes who crossed the $100 million mark. He won his fourth NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors in June 2022 and he also had the highest salary in the given year which was around $48.1 million. The celebrated basketball player has a net worth of $160. In addition to his NBA Salary, he also earns quite a lot from the many brand deals. Some of the major deals include Chase, Nissan Motor, Rakuten, Sony, JP Morgan, Brita, Unilever, and Vivo.

9. Roger Federer 

Getty Images | Mark Thompson
Getty Images | Mark Thompson

While the famous tennis player retired last year, his brand endorsements are not going anywhere. The professional has reportedly earned around $120 million and stood as the third-highest tennis player coming after Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Apart from this Federor has earned around $1 billion from brand endorsements. Some of the well-known endorsements include the $300 billion contract with Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo and other deals with Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, and Credit Suisse. 

10. Kevin Durant 

Getty Images | Tim Nwachukwu
Getty Images | Tim Nwachukwu

The professional basketball player has a net worth of $300 million and is one of the highest-paid players on and off the basketball court. The former Brooklyn Net moved to Phoenix Suns early this year with a $40 million salary hike. Off the court, he makes a cool $36 million from brand endorsements that include brands like Nike, Gatorade and more. In a single year, the basketball player earns somewhere around $65 million.