Ronaldo, LeBron, and Messi make Forbes’ 2024 top 10 highest-paid athletes

 Ronaldo, LeBron, and Messi make Forbes’ 2024 top 10 highest-paid athletes

In the latest Forbes ranking of the top 10 highest-paid athletes worldwide for 2024, five of them hail from the world of soccer, while Jon Rahm and LeBron James claim the top earning spots among athletes outside of soccer. 

Cristiano Ronaldo emerged as the highest earner, amassing a staggering $260 million from his salary at Al Nassr and various sponsorship deals.

Here’s the full top-10 list:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer): $260 million
  • Jon Rahm (Golf): $218 million
  • Lionel Messi (Soccer): $135 million
  • LeBron James (NBA): $128.2 million
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (NBA): $111 million
  • Kylian Mbappé (Soccer): $110 million
  • Neymar (Soccer): $108 million
  • Karim Benzema (Soccer): $106 million
  • Stephen Curry (NBA): $102 million
  • Lamar Jackson (NFL): $100.5 million.

The impact of Saudi Arabia’s financial investment in sports is unmistakable, especially with the top two athletes on the list. Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, initially reported at $207 million per season, highlights the magnitude of these investments. 

Meanwhile, Rahm’s staggering deal with LIV for over $300 million shocked the PGA Tour. Interestingly, athletes like LeBron James, Lionel Messi, and Giannis Antetokounmpo earn more off-field than on-field, with James leading the pack with $80 million annually, partly thanks to his partnership with DraftKings. 

James, a member of the Fenway Sports Group, was part of the Strategic Sports Group that invested $3 billion in the PGA Tour. Messi’s move to MLS boosted Inter Miami’s profile, making it the second-most valuable club in MLS, valued at $1.03 billion. Kylian Mbappé is set to join Real Madrid with a sign-on fee of $162 million after leaving Paris Saint-Germain. 

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Though not officially confirmed, La Liga president Javier Tebas indicated Mbappé’s move this summer. 

Neymar also joined the Saudi Arabia club trend, signing a $175 million deal with Al Hilal. Lamar Jackson, the reigning NFL MVP, earns the bulk of his $100.5 million from his Baltimore Ravens contract, with $98.5 million coming from on-field earnings, including a substantial signing bonus.

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