Top 10 Paid Athletes in the World – 1990/2023

Sports have long been a domain where passion, skill, and perseverance meet unparalleled financial success. The world’s highest-paid athletes are not just celebrated for their remarkable abilities on the field, court, or course but also for their astute business acumen and global influence. These sporting titans have harnessed their talents to secure mind-boggling earnings, transcending the boundaries of their respective sports. In this article, we will dive into the awe-inspiring financial achievements of the top 10 highest-paid athletes, representing a diverse range of sports from around the globe.

From the iconic figures of football to the towering giants of basketball, the list encompasses talents that have captured the collective imagination of fans worldwide. Their jaw-dropping salaries and lucrative endorsement deals have propelled them to unparalleled heights of wealth and fame, solidifying their status as global icons. As we delve into their extraordinary earnings, we’ll discover the astonishing figures that have become synonymous with these sporting legends.

Each athlete’s journey to the top of the financial mountain is a testament to their relentless dedication, unmatched talent, and the unwavering support of their fans. While their earnings may vary across sports, what unites them is their universal recognition as trailblazers who have redefined what it means to be successful both in and outside the sporting arena.

Prepare to be astounded as we explore the incredible financial achievements of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé, LeBron James, Canelo Álvarez, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Stephen Curry, Roger Federer, and Kevin Durant. Through their unparalleled earnings, they have not only paved the way for future athletes but also become living legends whose impact stretches far beyond the boundaries of their chosen sports.

Top 10 Paid Athetes in 2023

In the realm of sports, talent and skill often translate into lucrative contracts and endorsement deals, allowing elite athletes to amass jaw-dropping fortunes. The world’s highest-paid players are not only revered for their exceptional abilities but also for their business acumen and marketability. Let’s delve into the impressive earnings of the top 10 highest-paid players across different sports.

Cristiano Ronaldo:
Leading the pack is football sensation Cristiano Ronaldo. Hailing from Portugal, Ronaldo’s earnings stand at a staggering $136 million. With a salary of $46 million, he further boosts his income with a jaw-dropping $90 million from endorsements. Ronaldo’s global appeal and larger-than-life persona have made him an icon both on and off the pitch.

Lionel Messi:
Another football legend, Lionel Messi of Argentina, secures the second spot on the list. With a total income of $130 million, Messi’s earnings are divided equally between his salary and endorsements. His incredible $65 million salary is matched by an equally impressive $65 million in endorsement deals, making him a marketing powerhouse.

Kylian Mbappé:
At just 23 years old, French football prodigy Kylian Mbappé occupies the third position. With a total income of $120 million, Mbappé’s earnings are heavily influenced by his jaw-dropping $100 million salary. Endorsements contribute an additional $20 million, solidifying his status as one of the most promising talents in the world.

LeBron James:
Breaking the football monopoly is basketball superstar LeBron James, who represents the United States. With total earnings amounting to $119.5 million, James ranks fourth on the list. He earns a substantial salary of $44.5 million, but his endorsement deals catapult his income to an incredible $75 million, showcasing his widespread popularity.

Canelo Álvarez:
Mexican boxing sensation Canelo Álvarez dominates the boxing world and the fifth spot on this list. With total earnings of $110 million, Álvarez’s remarkable $100 million salary demonstrates his prowess in the ring. An additional $10 million from endorsements reflects his marketability and appeal to fans worldwide.

Dustin Johnson:
Golf superstar Dustin Johnson, hailing from the United States, claims the sixth position. With a staggering $107 million in earnings, Johnson’s $102 million salary speaks volumes about his accomplishments on the green. Although his endorsement income of $5 million is relatively modest compared to others on the list, his impressive golfing skills have solidified his financial success.

Phil Mickelson:
Joining Johnson in the world of golf, Phil Mickelson secures the seventh spot with a total income of $106 million. Like Johnson, Mickelson’s salary of $104 million demonstrates his prowess on the golf course. With an additional $2 million from endorsements, he solidifies his reputation as one of the most successful and well-paid golfers globally.

Stephen Curry:
Basketball superstar Stephen Curry, representing the United States, ranks eighth on the list. With total earnings of $100.4 million, Curry’s $48.4 million salary showcases his remarkable talent on the court. His endorsement income of $52 million highlights his immense popularity, fueled by his remarkable skills and charismatic personality.

Roger Federer:
Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer continues to make waves in the sports world, ranking ninth with earnings of $95.1 million. While his salary contributes a modest $0.1 million, his endorsement deals rake in an astounding $95 million. Federer’s elegant playing style and global fan base have made him an enduring symbol of excellence in tennis.

Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes (2021)

We saw above the data of the 10 highest paid athletes in the world from 1990 to 2021. But what are the 50 highest paid athletes in the world, according to Forbes, in 2021? In the chart below you can see the data. Both for total and for Salary and Endorsements. The chart is also useful because you can put the different parameters in columns. If for example we want to analyze which are the athletes in the world that earn more thanks to their salary, in first position we find Dak Prescott. With a figure of 97.5 million dollars Prescott is 0.5 million dollars ahead of Messi.

In third position we find another PSG player, Neymar. The Brazilian player has a total income of 95 million dollars of which 76 million dollars thanks to the salary .One last figure that certainly makes you think. The first female athlete in the world is Naomi Osaka. With a total of 60 million in revenue the Japanese tennis player ranks 12th. Of these, 5 come from Salary and $55 million from Endorsements. It will be interesting to know if in the coming years this ranking will be tinged more and more pink or if the obvious differences of today will remain.

Highest Paid Female Athletes 2021

We have seen how in the top 50 of the world’s highest paid athletes there are only two female athletes. The first is Naomi Osaka, with $60 million and in 12th position. The second is Serena Williams with $41.5 million (28th position). Taking the data from Sportico, it is possible to get a better idea of which are the 10 highest paid female athletes in the world. Sportico’s data is slightly different from Forbes’. Na in the first two positions we still find Osaka and Williams.

The third highest paid athlete in the world is Simone Biles who, however, has an income of 6 million. A decidedly “low” figure compared to the data of men. In fact Biles, third among women, is actually over one thousandth if we consider the overall ranking. To give another interesting example, Inbee Park, a female golfer, will earn about $3.7 million in 2021. She is in tenth position among the athletes who earn the most in the world but earns over 10 times less than Kevin Durant who is in tenth position among the athletes who earn the most.

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