Cristiano Ronaldo Ahead of Lionel Messi As Forbes Releases List of Highest Paid Athletes 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo Ahead of Lionel Messi As Forbes Releases List of Highest Paid Athletes 2024

Isaac Darko
updated at May 18, 2024 at 8:35 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior logo
Al-Hilal Saudi FC logoFBrazil logo
Karim Benzema logo
Al-Ittihad Club logoFFrance logo
  • Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid player of 2024, raking in $260million
  • Argentine legend Lionel Messi is third with an annual earning of $135million
  • NBA superstar LeBron James is also on the list with earnings of $128.2 million

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Forbes has unveiled its annual list of the world's top 10 highest-paid athletes, marking a historic milestone.

Each athlete on this year's list earned over $100 million, collectively amassing a record-breaking $1.38 billion.

Football icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the highest-paid athlete in the world.
Al-Nassr superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the highest-paid athlete in the world. Photo by Piotr Sampreas.
Source: Getty Images

Ronaldo tops Forbes' rich list

Cristiano Ronaldo leads the list for the fourth time with $260 million, the highest ever for a footballer, as per Forbes.

The 39-year-old forward reportedly earns $200 million annually from Al Nassr and $60 million from off-field activities.

His partnerships include Binance, Erakulis, Nike, Herbalife, and Clear Haircare, promoted to his 629 million Instagram followers.

Close behind is golfer Jon Rahm, with $218 million. The 29-year-old signed a $350 million contract with LIV Golf and earned $6.6 million from seven tournaments in 2024.

Lionel Messi ranks third

Lionel Messi rounds out the top three with $135 million, comprising $65 million from on-field earnings and $70 million from off-field activities.

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner, with a base salary of $12 million at Inter Miami and an additional $8.4 million in signing-on fees and bonuses, has recently added Lowe’s to his sponsors, which include Adidas, Apple, and Konami.

In the rest of the rankings, LeBron James is fourth with $128.2 million.

He is followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo ($111 million), Kylian Mbappe ($110 million), Neymar ($108 million), Karim Benzema ($106 million), Stephen Curry ($102 million), and Lamar Jackson ($100.5 million).

Beyond the top 10, the only boxers featured in Forbes' top 50 highest-paid athletes list for 2024 are Canelo Alvarez ($85 million), Anthony Joshua ($83 million), and Tyson Fury ($50 million). Canelo is ranked 14th, while Joshua and Fury are 16th and 42nd, respectively.

Mbappe leads Europe’s highest-paid players

Sports Brief earlier reported that major European Leagues and Saudi Pro League transfer windows have closed, bringing an end to a crazy summer that saw a mass exodus of stars into the Middle Eastern country.

Kylian Mbappe remains top of the European wages list with a weekly salary of £1.18m per week.

The Frenchman turned down a world-record salary of €700m from Al-Hilal after Paris Saint-Germain made it clear he would be sold if he didn't renew his contract. Real Madrid were also in the picture, waiting to pounce.

Isaac Darko photo
Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is a La Liga, Ligue 1 and Bundesliga editor at Sports Brief with a Degree in Journalism and Communications from Ghana Institute of Journalism (2010)