Athletes are among the highest-paid professionals in the world. Most of them are privileged to sign multi-million playing contracts. Some of the biggest names like Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, and LeBron James are raking millions of dollars yearly.
Outside of their sporting career, these athletes have mouthwatering endorsement deals with several brands which add to their earnings. Despite a disappointing season on the pitch with PSG, Lionel Messi remains the highest-paid athlete in the world, this is followed by NBA legend LeBron James and Manchester United forward Christiano Ronaldo.
1. Lionel Messi – $130 Million
Ranking number one on our list of highest-paid athletes in the world is Lionel Messi. The mercurial Argentine is earning a hefty salary at PSG with a mouthwatering endorsement deal. Lionel Messi earns $75 million in salary at PSG. His multi-million, multi-year endorsement deals with Adidas, Budweiser, PepsiCo, and Socios is worth $50 million.
2. LeBron James - $121.2 Million
The Los Angeles Lakers forward, LeBron James is the second-highest-paid athlete in the world. The American made over $41.2 million in salary. James also has multi-million endorsement deals with several brands including Crypto.com. He earns $80m from brand endorsement alone.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo - $115 Million
The Portuguese star who plies his trade with the English Premier League club, Manchester United is the third highest-paid athlete in the world. Upon his return to United, Ronaldo signed a big-money contract worth $60m yearly.
Christiano Ronaldo also leverages the power of his massive social media followers to promote his sponsors. He has signed multi-million deals with brands like Nike, Herbalife and Clear shampoo. Ronaldo earns over $55m from brand endorsement, sponsorship, and promotions alone.
4. Neymar - $95 Million
The Brazilian and PSG forward is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Neymar earned $70m in salary. He also has a number of valuable sponsorship deals with the likes of Puma and Red Bull. Neymar earned $25m from endorsements alone.
5. Stephen Curry – $92.8 Million
Considered one of the greatest point guards ever, The Golen States player is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Stephen Curry earns $45.8m in salary with the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Curry also has an endorsement deal with FTX and the trainers and production company, Unanimous Media. He also has a development deal with Comcast NBCUniversal. Altogether, Stephen Curry earns $47m in endorsements.
6. Kevin Durant – $92.8 Million
The Brooklyn Nets player earned $42.1m in salary. Durant has several endorsement deals. He has an endorsement deal with Nike, Coinbase, NBA Top Shot and Weedmaps. Durant earns $50m in endorsements alone.
He also has a media company, Boardroom, and an investment firm, Thirty-Five Ventures, and has more recently branched out into the NFT platform OpenSea and digital fitness startup Future.
7. Roger Federer - $90.7 Million
Roger Federer is one of the greatest professional tennis players. The Swiss icon is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Although he earned 724k in salary and winnings, he made that up with mouth-watering endorsement deals with Rolex and Uniqlo. Federer earns a whopping $90 million in endorsements.
8. Canelo Alvarez – $90 Million
The Mexican boxer is the highest-paid boxer in the world and one of the highest-paid athletes. Alvarez earned $85 million in salary. He also has a lucrative partnership deal with Hennessy. Alvarez earned $5 million in endorsements.
9. Tom Brady – $83.9 Million
Tom Brady is the highest-paid American football player. The Tampa Bay Buccaneer quarterback has had a monstrous deal offer worth $375 million from Fox Sports as an analyst after his retirement. Brady earned $31.9 million in salary. He also earned $52 million in endorsements.
10. Giannis Antetokounmpo – $80.9 Million
The Milwaukee Bucks’ two-time MVP is the youngest member of the rich gang. Giannis signed a five-year contract with Milwaukee Bucks worth $228 million. He earns $39.9 million in salary. Giannis also has endorsement deals with WhatsApp and Google Pixel. He is also one of the investors in the resale platform WatchBox. Giannis earned $41 million from endorsement alone.