Who Is the Highest Paid Sports Man?

Forbes recently released their list of the world’s highest paid athletes. Read on to see who made the list and how much they are worth.

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The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes

Forbes has released its annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, and once again, global soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list with $88 million in earnings. The 32-year-old Portuguese player is followed by NBA stars LeBron James ($77.2 million) and Kevin Durant ($56.2 million). Lionel Messi, the world’s greatest soccer player, is fourth on the list with $53.4 million.

Floyd Mayweather

As of June 2018, Forbes has ranked Mayweather as the world’s highest-paid athlete, with earnings of $285 million in the previous 12 months. He has earned an estimated $700 million from his boxing career overall. In 2015 he topped the Forbes and Sports Illustrated lists of the world’s highest-paid athletes, earning an annual $300 million, which included $105 million from his fight against Manny Pacquiao.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays soccer for Juventus and Portugal, is the world’s highest-paid athlete, according to Forbes magazine. The magazine estimated that Ronaldo earned $105 million from salary and bonuses and $60 million from endorsements last year.

Ronaldo, 33, joined Juventus from Spanish club Real Madrid last year in a deal worth $117 million. He is the first soccer player to top Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

Los Angeles Lakers basketball player LeBron James was second on the list with earnings of $88 million. James’ earnings were boosted by a $52 million-a-year contract with the Lakers and endorsements with companies such as Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) and Nike Inc (NKE.N).

Rounding out the top five were athletes from three different sports: boxer Canelo Alvarez ($94 million), NBA basketball player Kevin Durant ($65.4 million) and tennis player Roger Federer ($93.4 million).

Lionel Messi

With consuming interest in soccer on the global stage, it’s little wonder that many of the world’s highest-paid athletes now ply their trade in Europe, with Spanish La Liga boasting five of the top 10. But it is Lionel Messi who heads up this ranking thanks to a $126 million windfall, including $92 million in salary and winnings and another $34 million in endorsements.

The Argentina and Barcelona star has supplanted Ronaldo as the world’s highest-paid athlete after signing a new four-year contract that will net him an annual salary/bonus package of about $66 million, with Barcelona adding a further $10 million in performance-based variables to his annual take. That total does not include the approximately $27 million he receives from endorsement partners Adidas (ADDYY), Ooredoo, Hublot, Hawkers, and Gatorade. Ronaldo topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes for the first time last year but has been leapfrogged by Messi thanks largely to inferior sponsorship earnings amid an ongoing investigation into his tax affairs in Spain.

The World’s Highest-Paid Women Athletes

American professional tennis player Serena Williams is the highest-paid female athlete in the world, according to Forbes. The 37-year-old earned $29.2 million in prize money and endorsements last year. Williams’ total earnings are more than double that of her closest competitor, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams is an American professional tennis player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time. She has been ranked world No. 1 in singles eight times, winning 23 Grand Slam singles titles. With her older sister Venus, Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, having played in both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 tournaments. She is also a former world No. 1 in doubles, winning five Wimbledon and six Australian Open women’s doubles titles with Venus.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova is a Russian professional tennis player. She is a five-time Grand Slam singles champion, ranking second in Wimbledon history for most women’s singles titles, and is one of ten women, and the only Russian, to hold the career Grand Slam. She has also won the season-ending WTA Championships two times in her career.

The World’s Highest-Paid Team

The world’s highest-paid team is a title that is currently held by the soccer team, Barcelona. The team is worth an estimated $3.64 billion.

Real Madrid

In 2018, Forbes determined that Real Madrid was the world’s highest-paid team, with players earning an average of $7.8 million per year. The top earner on the team was Cristiano Ronaldo, who made $108 million in salary and endorsements. The second highest-paid player on the team was Gareth Bale, who earned $15.6 million.


With an annual revenue of €840.8 million, Barcelona is the highest-paid soccer team in the world. The Spanish giants have been consistently at the top of the list for many years, thanks to their large fan base and numerous sponsorships. In addition to their on-field success, Barcelona also generates a significant amount of revenue from their merchandise sales and other commercial ventures.

The World’s Highest-Paid Endorsements

Endorsements are a major way that athletes make money. In fact, many athletes make more money through endorsements than they do through their actual sport. In this article, we will list the world’s highest-paid endorsements. We will also talk about how much these endorsements are worth and who the athletes are that make the most from them.

LeBron James

LeBron James is the world’s highest-paid endorsements athlete, generating $52 million in deals this year. The Cleveland Cavaliers forward has endorsement partners that include Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre, Kia Motors, Nike and Intel. NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant ranks second at $36 million from sponsorships with Nike, Foot Locker, MetroPCS and Sparkling Ice. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan rounds out the top three with $32 million in annual endorsement income from Nike, Delta Air Lines, Gatorade and Northwestern Mutual.

Roger Federer

Roger Federer is the world’s highest-paid athlete, according to Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes. The Swiss tennis star earned an estimated $106.3 million in 2020, including $100 million from endorsements.

Federer’s endorsement deals include deals with major brands like Rolex, Uniqlo, and Mercedes-Benz. He also has his own line of branded products, including a line of performance shirts with Japanese apparel company Uniqlo.

In 2019, Federer signed a 10-year deal with Japanese apparel company Uniqlo, which is reportedly worth up to $300 million. The deal is the largest endorsement deal ever signed by a tennis player.

In 2020, Federer was named the world’s highest-paid athlete for the first time in Forbes’ history. He unseats Tiger Woods, who held the title for the previous 12 years. Woods earned an estimated $93.4 million in 2020, including $58 million from endorsements.

The World’s Highest-Paid Athlete by Country

United States athletes take home the most money in the world, according to Forbes’ inaugural ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes. Of the 100 athletes on the list, 62 hail from the U.S. The list includes both men and women from a wide range of sports.

United States

In the United States, the highest-paid athlete is currently LeBron James of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. He earned a whopping $88.7 million in salary and endorsements last year, making him the world’s highest-paid athlete. Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo comes in a close second at $87 million, followed by Barcelona’s Lionel Messi at $76.5 million.


The highest-paid athlete in China is Houston Rockets basketball player, Yao Ming. Yao Ming has an estimated annual salary of $55 million dollars. He is followed by Li Na, a Chinese tennis player, who has an estimated annual salary of $23 million dollars.


With an estimated net worth of $400 million, Neymar is not only the highest-paid athlete in Brazil but also one of the richest people in the country. The 27-year-old soccer star earns a reported $75 million annually from his salary and endorsements. He currently plays for Paris Saint-Germain and is one of the most popular athletes in the world.

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