Forbes: Cristiano Ronaldo Is World’s Richest Athlete; LeBron Is 4th


Forbes released their annual report on the world’s richest athletes on Tuesday morning, and Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo comes in at #1. One of the reasons for his riches is the new contract that he accepted from Middle Eastern money, which seems to be a theme on this year’s list from Forbes.

Forbes Says Cristiano Ronaldo Is World’s Richest Athlete

Arguably the best and most popular soccer player on the planet, the 38-year-old Ronaldo reached a tipping point with Manchester United last season. He had become at odds with the club’s management and ownership during his second stint, a move that led to contract termination that was mutually agreed upon.

This allowed him to sign with Saudi Arabian team Al Nassir, reportedly signing a deal worth $200 million per year, the richest football contract in history. Due to his short time with the club, Forbes blended his two contracts for the year and added his off-field earnings as well. The number came out to $136 millon in earnings per year for Ronaldo.

The next two players on the list are footballers as well. Lionel Messi comes in at $130 million per year, and he could see a fluctuation in his riches depending on what he chooses to do next in his career. Frenchman Kylian Mbappe makes $120 million per year.

Middle Eastern Money Dominating Sports Landscape

The first American-born athlete on the list is LeBron James, coming in at #4. Forbes named James a certified billionaire last June, and his wealth only grows over time. He is one of the most successful investors of any athlete, and has an impressive endorsement portfolio. It is reported that James made $44.5 million on the court last year, and $75 million off of it.

Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez is 5th after scoring some huge blockbuster fights over the last year. Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are next, and like Ronaldo have benefitted from the money coming out of the Middle East. Both golfers made over $100 million in earnings on the course, but saw their sponsorships dwindle.

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are near the bottom of the top-10, with Rodger Federer sandwiched in between.

According to Forbes, these athletes made $1.11 billion collectively over the last year, which is a 12% increase from 2022.

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