Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has topped Forbes’ annual rich list, becoming the world’s highest-paid athlete after earning an amazing £109 million in the last year. This is the third time Ronaldo has secured the top position, with his previous two inclusions in 2016 and 2017. While Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United ended on a sour note after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan, his move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr has made him the world’s highest-paid footballer ever.
Cristiano Ronaldo named world’s highest-paid athlete in Forbes’ annual rich list
Ronaldo’s $136 million (£109 million) salary is the largest ever paid to a footballer. On-field earnings accounted for approximately $46 million (£37 million), with off-field endorsements contributing to the rest of his earnings. Ronaldo is now one of four sportsmen in Forbes history to have made $90 million (£72 million) from off-field deals, joining Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, and Conor McGregor.
Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s arch-rival, is second on the list, having earned $130 million (£104 million). This is the same amount he received in 2022, when his on-field and off-field earnings were split equally. Messi’s PSG colleague, Kylian Mbappe, comes in third with $120 million (£96 million), with $100 million (£80 million) coming from on-field activities.
Following the PSG stars, LeBron James ($119.5 million/£95 million) and Canelo Alvarez ($110 million/£88 million) are in fourth and fifth place, respectively. Golf star Dustin Johnson is in sixth place after banking $107million (£86 million), $102 million (£90 million) of which came through competition, just ahead of Phil Mickelson in seventh on $106 million (£85 million).
Federer, on the list despite his retirement
Roger Federer, who announced his retirement from professional tennis in September 2022, is the only tennis celebrity on the list, ranking ninth with a total revenue of $95.1 million (£76 million). Basketball player Kevin Durant rounds out the top five, earning $89.1 million (£72 million).
Forbes’ on-field earnings include all prize money, salary, and bonuses received between May 1, 2022, and May 1, 2023, while their off-field revenues include sponsorship deals, appearance fees, collectibles, licensing income, and financial returns from the athlete’s businesses.
In conclusion, Cristiano Ronaldo’s massive income is a testament to his incredible talent and commercial appeal. Despite his troubles at Manchester United, his move to Al-Nassr has revitalized his career and earnings, elevating him to the world’s highest-paid athlete. His long-time rival Messi and French footballer Mbappe are close behind, with basketball players and golfers rounding out the top ten. The list emphasizes the massive commercialization of professional sports, with sportsmen making enormous sums from endorsements and other off-field activities.