Former tennis star Ion Tiriac did not earn much during his time as an athlete but now he is worth more than two of the greatest footballers of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Tiriac, now 84 years old, achieved notable success on the tennis court during the 1960s and 70s. The Romanian reached the quarter-finals of the French Open singles in 1968, losing to eventual finalist Rod Laver, and clinched the doubles title with compatriot Ilie Nastase in 1970.
Despite his achievements, Tiriac's tennis career brought in modest earnings of around £200,000 due to the comparatively lower prize money in that era. However, following his retirement from tennis, the Transylvania-born athlete transitioned into a successful business mogul.
In 2007, Tiriac became Romania's first billionaire, amassing his wealth through a diverse investment company. His current net worth stands at approximately £1.6 billion, surpassing the combined wealth of sporting icons Ronaldo and Messi.
According to Forbes, Tiriac's wealth has doubled from $1 billion to $2 billion since 2016, placing him at 1516th on Forbes' 2023 Billionaire's List, alongside Crystal Palace part-owner David Blitzer.
In comparison, Ronaldo and Messi, despite being among the highest-paid athletes, have significantly lower net worths.
Ronaldo's fortune is estimated at around £500 million, while Messi's stands slightly lower at £464 million.
Both footballers rank among the top 10 highest-earning athletes in 2023, with the Portuguese topping the list with £218 million in earnings from wages and endorsements, followed by the Argentine at third place with £103 million.
In tennis, only two players made it to the list of top-earning athletes in 2023. Novak Djokovic ranks 46th, while Carlos Alcaraz, the 2023 Wimbledon champion, occupies the 56th spot.