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Monday, June 24, 2024

The 25 Highest-Paid Athletes in the World

Portuguese superstar Cristiano Rolando gives thumbs during World Cup match
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the battle of the sports, but not to see which is most entertaining. The highest-paid athletes in the world seem to come from three sports: soccer, basketball, and, football.

Cristiano Ronaldo takes the crown as the highest-paid athlete in the world. He signed a record deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr in 2023 for $200 million. This deal represents a $75 million increase in his salary, catapulting him to the top of the list.

Including his off-field earnings, Ronaldo will rake in $260 million this year. That amounts to $3,846,153.85 weekly or $22,831.05 every hour.

The Saudi Arabian Pro League has been unafraid to spend big recently. They are responsible for four of the seven soccer players featured on the list. Karim Benzema comes in second, earning $100 million from Saudi Pro League club Al Ittihad.

Paris Saint Germain star forward Kylian Mbappe holds the third spot with his annual salary of $90 million. Another Saudi Pro League player comes in at fourth. Neymar Jr, the flashy forward of Al Hilal, earns $80 million from the club for his services. 

The first non-soccer player to make the list rounds out the top five. Two-way baseball star Shohei Ohtani made headlines when he signed his 10-year, $700 million deal with the Dodgers in 2023. His annual salary of $70 million leads all MLB players.

The NBA had the most overall players among the top 25 earners with ten making the list. 

Stephen Curry, the superstar point guard of the Warriors, hits the list at eleven. He signed a four-year, $215 million extension in 2021, netting him $51.9 million this year

Seven soccer players including the top four highest-paid athletes make soccer the second-most represented group. 

The NFL was also well-represented, with six players in the top 25. The popular quarterback of the Bengals, Joe Burrow, snags the first spot on the list for the NFL. 

His $55 million annual salary is enough to tie him for the seventh spot on the list along with Max Verstappen. Verstappen is the only Formula One driver to make the list. His salary is ten million more than the next highest earner in Formula One. 

Ranking the Highest Paid Athletes in the World

Here is the list of the top 25 highest-paid athletes in the world for 2024, based on data from Spotrac.

  • Updated: May 15, 2024
RankPlayerLeaguePositionCompensation Per YearCompensation Per WeekCompensation Per Hour
1Cristiano RonaldoSaudi Pro LeagueForward$200 million$3.84 million$22,831.05
2Karim BenzemaSaudi Pro LeagueForward$100 million$1.92 million$11,415.53
3Kylian MbappeLigue 1Forward$90 million$1.73 million$10,273.97
4Neymar Jr.Saudi Pro LeagueForward$80 million$1.53 million$9,132.42
5Shohei OhtaniMLBPitcher/DH$70 million$1.34 million$7,990.87
6Lionel MessiMLSForward$65 million$1.25 million$7,420.09
T-7Joe BurrowNFLQuarterback$55 million$1.05 million$6,278.54
T-7Max VerstappenFormula OneRacecar Driver$55 million$1.05 million$6,278.54
9Jared GoffNFLQuarterback$53 million$1.019 million$6,050.23
10Justin HerbertNFLQuarterback$52.5 million$1.009 million$5,993.15
11Lamar JacksonNFLQuarterback$52 million$1 million$5,936.07
12Stephen CurryNBAPoint Guard$51.9 million$998,076.92$5,924.66
13Jalen HurtsNFLQuarterback$51 million$980,769.23$5,821.92
14Sadio ManeSaudi Pro LeagueForward$48 million$923,076.92$5,479.45
T-15Nikola JokicNBACenter$47.6 million$915,384.62$5,433.79
T-15Lebron JamesNBASmall Forward$47.6 million$915,384.62$5,433.79
T-15Joel EmbidNBACenter$47.6 million$915,384.62$5,433.79
18Bradley BealNBAShooting Guard$46.7 million$898,076.92$5,331.05
19Kevin DurantNBASmall Forward$46.4 million$892,307.69$5,296.80
20Kyler MurrayNFLQuarterback$46.1 million$886,538.46$5,262.56
T-21Deshaun WatsonNFLQuarterback$46 million$884,615.38$5,251.14
T-21Erling HaalandPremier LeagueForward$46 million$884,615.38$5,251.14
T-23Paul GeorgeNBASmall Forward$45.6 million$876,923.08$5,205.48
T-23Kawhi LeonardNBASmall Forward$45.6 million$876,923.08$5,205.48
T-23Giannis AntetokounmpoNBAPower Forward$45.6 million$876,923.08$5,205.48

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