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Forbes names Cristiano Ronaldo as world's highest-paid athlete 2023

Forbes names Cristiano Ronaldo as world's highest-paid athlete 2023

Unsurprisingly, there were quite a few footballers in the top 10

Forbes has named Cristano Ronaldo as the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2023, having crunched the numbers to find out just how much he’s earnt – spoiler alert, it’s a lot.

Professional athletes are known for their tasty pay packets, depending on the sport and league they’re in. Oh, and whether they’re male or female, naturally.

Footballers, in particular, are often famously paid a staggering amount for their efforts, which means it will come as no surprise to see there are several named in Forbes’ list of the world’s highest paid athletes for 2023.

The top 10 features basketball players, golfers and one veteran tennis stars, but the three highest-paid are all from the footballing world.

Cristiano Ronaldo

In at number one is Cristiano Ronaldo, who parted ways with English side Manchester United back in November, before joining Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr at the beginning of this year.

According to Forbes, the 38-year-old Portuguese star rakes in $46 million on-field and $90 million off-field, totalling a not-too-shabby $136 million.

Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi

He’s followed by Argentinian Lionel Messi, who helped lead his national side to victory in the World Cup last December.

Thanks to ‘a long list of lucrative endorsements’ including Adidas, Budweiser and PepsiCo, Messi has raked in $65m off-field this year – a number matched by his on-field action to bring his total earnings to £130m.

Kylian Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé is in third spot with 2023 earnings of $120m – the majority of which ($100m) comes from the pitch.

Forbes notes that he makes his top 10 debut this year after being number 35 on the list in 2022, and is now the only member still under 30.

LeBron James

LeBron James’ $119.5m pay won’t come as too much of a shock to anyone, given his well-established nature in US basketball.

But he’s also savvy off the court, too, with Forbes saying ‘no one embodies that entrepreneurial spirit better than James’, who became the first active athlete to be certified a billionaire by the outlet in June last year.

LeBron James with Lewis Hamilton.

Canelo Álvarez

According to Forbes, boxer Canelo Álvarez ‘collects tens of millions of dollars every time he steps in the ring’, having scored big with blockbuster fights against Dmitry Bivol and Gennadiy Golovkin over the last 12 months.

In total, he’s made $100m on-field, along with $10m off-field thanks to being behind sports drink maker Yaoca, fitness app I Can and gas station chain Canelo Energy, among other ventures.

Dustin Johnson

Golfer Dustin Johnson, 38, is sixth on the list with a total of $107m - $102m of which comes from his time on the green.

He was the first star to jump to LIV Gold last May, finishing 2022 with $35.6m in prize money

"The move may have cost him sponsors, including Royal Bank of Canada, but it also made him the biggest gainer of the year,” Forbes said.

Phil Mickelson

He’s followed by another top golfer, Phil Mickelson, who surpassed $1bn in career pre-tax earnings last year.

He also shed sponsors since joining LIV Golf, but is ‘staying busy off the course’ as co-founder of coffee supplement company For Wellness, bringing his total to $107m.

Stephen Curry

At number eight we’ve got basketball pro Stephen Curry, 35, who made $100.4m, split almost evenly between on and off-pitch endeavours.

“His $48.1 million salary was the NBA’s highest this season, and he’ll become the league’s first $50 million man in 2023-24, when he is set to make $51.9 million,” Forbes explained.

Stephen Curry with son Ryan.

Roger Federer

Tennis veteran Roger Federer may have announced his retirement from competitive tennis last September, bowing out after one final match with Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup, but he’s made $95m off-field this season.

With a total of $95.1m, somehow we think he’ll be just fine after hanging up the racket.

Kevin Durrant

Rounding off the top 10 is Kevin Durrant, 34, who was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns in February.

“But the wheeling and dealing hasn’t been confined to the court,” Forbes said, listing stakes in the Premier Lacrosse League, nutrition brand Happy Viking, League One Volleyball, women’s sports league network Athletes Unlimited, a Major League Pickleball team, Fanatics’ Mitchell & Ness label, digital creator business Goldenset Collective, sports software startup ScorePlay and Tiger Woods’ TMRW Sports – and that’s just in the last 10 months.

He's also got a lifetime sneaker deal with Nike, bringing his total pay for the last year to $89.1m.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: Sport, Football, Cristiano Ronaldo, Money