Top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2024

Top 100 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2024

The world of sports is not just about the thrill of competition; it’s also a realm where financial powerhouses emerge, showcasing the immense earning potential of elite athletes. The recently revealed list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes offers a glimpse into the financial landscape of sports, with familiar names dominating the rankings.

From football to basketball, golf to boxing, these athletes command astronomical salaries and endorsement deals, solidifying their positions as some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £218 million

Cristiano Ronaldo secures the top spot on the list of highest-paid athletes, thanks to his staggering £175 million-a-year deal with Al-Nassr, the Saudi Arabian club. Ronaldo’s move to the Middle East has boosted his income significantly, contributing to his total earnings of £218 million over the past year.

In addition to his club salary, Ronaldo also enjoys lucrative endorsement deals with prominent brands such as Nike, Herbalife, Armani, Tag Heuer, DAZN, and PokerStars, along with his own CR7 brand. Despite fierce competition from Lionel Messi throughout his career, Ronaldo’s financial prowess remains unmatched, solidifying his status as one of the wealthiest athletes globally.

2. Jon Rahm – £161 million

In the second position is Jon Rahm, the LIV Golf rebel who made headlines with his move to the controversial Saudi-funded breakaway league. Rahm’s earnings totaled £161 million, with a significant portion stemming from his victory at the 2023 Masters.

His decision to join LIV Golf, coupled with his success on the golf course, has propelled him to the upper echelons of the highest-paid athletes list. Endorsement deals further bolster Rahm’s income, reflecting his immense popularity and marketability within the golfing world.

3. Lionel Messi – £103 million

Lionel Messi, the legendary footballer now playing for MLS side Inter Miami, claims the third spot on the list with total earnings of £103 million. While Messi’s direct earnings may be less than Ronaldo and Rahm, his endorsement deals significantly contribute to his overall income.

The rivalry between Messi and Ronaldo continues to captivate fans worldwide, with both players vying for supremacy on and off the field. Despite trailing Ronaldo in earnings, Messi’s enduring legacy as one of the greatest footballers of all time remains unquestioned.

4. LeBron James – £99.8 million

Breaking the football dominance is NBA superstar LeBron James, whose earnings primarily come from lucrative endorsement deals. With £64 million from endorsements alone, James tops the list for endorsement earnings, adding to his total income of £99.8 million.

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James’ impact extends beyond the basketball court, with his brand power and global influence making him one of the most marketable athletes in the world. His presence in the top five highlights the significance of basketball in the realm of sports business.

5. Kylian Mbappe – £99.2 million

Paris Saint-Germain sensation Kylian Mbappe secures the fifth position on the list, earning a total of £99.2 million over the past year. Mbappe’s impending move to Real Madrid adds to his allure, making him one of the most sought-after talents in world football.

With £80 million in earnings and £20 million from endorsements, Mbappe’s star continues to rise, solidifying his status as one of the highest-paid athletes globally. His marketability and on-field success make him a valuable asset for both clubs and brands alike.

6. Neymar – £96 million

Another former PSG teammate of Messi, Neymar, follows closely behind Mbappe with total earnings of £96 million. While Neymar’s earnings from endorsements surpass his direct earnings, his popularity and marketability remain undeniable.

Despite criticisms of inconsistency on the pitch, Neymar’s commercial appeal remains strong, attracting lucrative sponsorship deals from leading brands. His presence in the top ten underscores the financial power of football and its top stars.

7. Stephen Curry – £78.5 million

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry secures the seventh spot on the list with total earnings of £78.5 million. Curry’s success on the basketball court, coupled with his marketability, has made him one of the highest-paid athletes globally.

Although his endorsement earnings fall short of LeBron James’, Curry’s impact on and off the court remains significant. His influence extends beyond basketball, with Curry becoming a cultural icon and role model for millions worldwide.

8. Giannis Antetokounmpo – £70.2 million

Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo lands in the eighth position with total earnings of £70.2 million. Antetokounmpo’s rise to prominence in the NBA has been nothing short of remarkable, with his on-court success translating into lucrative endorsement deals.

While his endorsement earnings may be lower compared to some of his peers, Antetokounmpo’s impact on the basketball court and his marketability make him one of the highest-paid athletes globally.

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9. Kevin Durant – £69 million

Rounding off the top ten is Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns, whose total earnings amount to £69 million. Durant’s success in the NBA, coupled with his endorsement deals, solidifies his position as one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.

Despite facing challenges both on and off the court, Durant’s star continues to shine bright, attracting endorsements from leading brands. His presence in the top ten reflects the global appeal of basketball and its top stars.

10. Patrick Mahomes (NFL) – £66.9m

11. Lamar Jackson (NFL) – £65.5m

12. Karim Benzema (football) – £61m

13. Rory McIlroy (golf) –  £61m

14. Tiger Woods (golf) -£61m

15. Max Verstappen (F1) – £59.5m

16. Shohei Ohtani (baseball) – £55.6m

17. Canelo Alvarez (boxing) – £52.4m 

18. Erling Haaland (football) – £50m

19. Lewis Hamilton (F1) – £49.2m

20. Max Scherzer (baseball) – £48.2m

21. Damian Lillard (basketball) – £47.8m

22. Klay Thompson (basketball) – £47.7m

23. Mohamed Salah (football) – £44.4m

24. Anthony Joshua (boxing) – £43.6m

25. Russell Westbrook (basketball) – £42.8m

26. Nick Bosa (NFL) – £42.5m

27. Viktor Hovland (golf) – £41.5m 

27. Scottie Scheffler (golf) – £41.5m

29. James Harden (basketball) – £40.9m

30. Joe Burrow (NFL) – £40.9m

31. Paul George (basketball) – £40.5m

32. Bradley Beal (basketball) – £40.1m

33. Kawhi Leonard (basketball) – £39.7m 

34. Luka Doncic (basketball) – £39.4m

35. Jimmy Butler (basketball) – £38m

36. Daniel Jones (NFL) – £37.7m

37. Jake Paul (boxing) – £37.3m

38. Joel Embiid (basketball) – £37.1m  

39. Brooks Koepka (golf) – £37m

40. Deshaun Watson (NFL) – £36.9m 

41. Devin Booker (basketball) – £36.7m

42. Aaron Rodgers (NFL) – £36.4m 

43. Nikola Jokic (basketball) – £36.3m

44. Anthony Davis (basketball) – £36.1m

45. Dak Prescott (NFL) – £35.7m 

46. Novak Djokovic (tennis) – £35.6m 

47. Trae Young (basketball) – £35.5m

48. Justin Verlander (baseball) – £35.3m 

49. Aaron Judge (baseball) – £34.9m

50. Zach LaVine (basketball) – £34.7m

51. Cameron Smith (golf) – £34.3m 

52. Kyrie Irving (basketball) – £34.3m 

53. Jordan Spieth (golf) – £34m 

54. Gervonta Davis (boxing) – £33.7m

54. Kyler Murray (NFL) – £33.7m

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56. Carlos Alcaraz (tennis) – £33.5m

57. Jamal Murray (basketball) – £32.5m 

58. Ryan Garcia (boxing) – £32.1m

58. Mike Trout (baseball) – £32.1m  

60. Donovan Mitchell (basketball) – £32m

61. Rudy Gobert (basketball) – £31.9m

61. Talor Gooch (golf) – £31.9m

63. Jayson Tatum (basketball) – £31.8m

64. Tyson Fury (boxing) – £31.7m

65. Rashan Gary (NFL) – £31.6m

66. Tobias Harris (basketball) – £31.2m

67. Chris Paul (basketball) – £30.5m

68. Ben Simmons (basketball) – £30.4m

69. Anthony Rendon (baseball) – £30.4m

70. Pascal Siakam (basketball) – £30.1m 

70. Russell Wilson (NFL) – £30.1m

70. Sadio Mane (football) – £30.1m

73. CJ McCollum (basketball) – £30.1m

74. Jrue Holiday (basketball) – £30m

75. Zion Williamson (basketball) – £29.8m

76. Gerrit Cole (baseball) – £27.7m 

76. Corey Seager (baseball) – £29.7m

78. Karl-Anthony Towns (basketball) – £29.5m

79. Carlos Correa (baseball) – £29.3m

79. Josh Allen (NFL) – £29.3m

81. Kristaps Porzingis (basketball) – £29.1m

82. Brandon Ingram (basketball) – £28.6m

83. Riyad Mahrez (football) – £28.5m

83. Robert Lewandowski (football) – £28.5m

85. Chris Lindstrom (NFL) – £28.4m

86. Dustin Johnson (golf) – £28.3m

87. Khris Middleton (basketball) – £28m

88. Kevin de Bruyne (football) – £27.8m

89. Michael Porter Jr. (basketball) – £26.9m

90. Orlando Brown Jr (NFL) – £26.8m

91. Gordon Hayward (basketball) – £26.7m

92. Stephen Strasburg (baseball) – £26.6m 

93. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (basketball) – £26.6m

94. Bryce Harper (baseball) – £26.3m

95. Kirk Cousins (NFL) – £26.2m

96. De’Aaron Fox (basketball) – £26.1m

97. Miguel Cabrera (baseball) – £26m

98. Bam Adebayo (basketball) – £25.9m

99. Giancarlo Stanton (baseball) – £25.8m 

100. Derek Carr (NFL) – £25.8m 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the list of the top 100 highest-paid athletes serves as a testament to the global appeal and financial prowess of elite sports stars. Whether it’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s staggering earnings from his move to Al-Nassr, LeBron James’ dominance in the world of basketball endorsements, or Jon Rahm’s lucrative deal with LIV Golf, these athletes exemplify the intersection of talent, marketability, and commercial success. As fans continue to marvel at their on-field achievements, it’s clear that their off-field earnings are equally impressive, showcasing the enduring allure of sports in the modern era.

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