Cristiano Ronaldo tops Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes again

Portugese legend clinched the title after his transfer to the Saudi Arabian team Al Nassr

By Web Desk
May 16, 2024
Forbes estimated the 39-year-old's total earnings at approximately $260 million. - Reuters

Cristiano Ronaldo led Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes for the fourth time in his career, whilst Spanish golfer Jon Rahm moved to second place following his remarkable transition to Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Ronaldo clinched the title of the world's highest-paid athlete after his transfer to the Saudi Arabian team Al Nassr, with Forbes estimating the 39-year-old's total earnings at approximately $260 million, marking an unprecedented high for a footballer.

His earnings on the field totalled $200 million, while his off-field income reached $60 million, due to sponsorship agreements leveraging his vast following of 629 million on Instagram.

Two-time major champion Rahm joined LIV Golf in December in a lucrative move that reverberated through the sport, with media reports suggesting the world No. 5 would receive at least $300 million.

In addition to this guaranteed sum, Rahm has accrued $218 million, placing him alongside Ronaldo as the only two athletes to surpass the $200 million mark.

In third place is the record eight-time Ballon d'Or recipient Lionel Messi, who secured a profitable transfer to the Major League Soccer outfit Inter Miami, contributing to his earnings of $135 million.

While the 36-year-old has amassed $65 million from on-field endeavours, he has garnered a further $70 million off the field, courtesy of partnerships with major brands like Adidas and Apple.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James occupies the fourth position with $128.2 million. Despite being 39 years old and nearing the twilight of his career, James, the first NBA player to achieve 40,000 career points, is poised for one final stint at the Olympics.

Fellow NBA luminary Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks trails in fifth place with $111 million, whilst France captain Kylian Mbappe has descended to sixth place with earnings of $110 million.

Mbappe disclosed his departure from Paris Saint-Germain after seven years in the French capital, where he ascended as the club's all-time leading scorer. The 25-year-old is anticipated to join the Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid in the upcoming transfer window.

Former PSG star Neymar, who also ventured to the Saudi Pro League to join Al Hilal, ranks seventh with $108 million, despite missing the majority of the season due to a torn ACL.

French striker Karim Benzema, another recent addition to Saudi Arabia, secures eighth place with $106 million, followed by Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry with $102 million.

Lamar Jackson, the sole NFL representative on the list, clinches tenth place with $100.5 million, courtesy of the signing bonus negotiated into his new contract with the Baltimore Ravens last year.