We all know that professional athletes can make a lot of money. But just how much do the top earners take home? We did some research and found out who the most paid sports players are in the world.
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Who is the most paid sports player?
There is no definitive answer to this question as it largely depends on the sport, the country, and the league. However, some of the highest-paid athletes in the world include football players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, basketball player LeBron James, and tennis player Roger Federer.
The top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world
The total earnings of the world’s highest-paid athletes reached $3.8 billion last year, according to Forbes’ annual ranking. The list includes basketball players, footballers, tennis stars and golfers from across the globe.
Here are the top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world for 2019:
1. Floyd Mayweather – $285 million (boxing)
2. Lionel Messi – $104 million (football)
3. Cristiano Ronaldo – $100 million (football)
4. Neymar – $90 million (football)
5. LeBron James – $88 million (basketball)
6. Roger Federer – $77.2 million (tennis)
7. Steph Curry – $79.8 million (basketball)
8. Kevin Durant – $65 million (basketball)
9. Tiger Woods – $63.9 million (golf)
10. Phil Mickelson – $61 million (golf)
The world’s highest-paid footballers
The world’s highest-paid footballers are largely concentrated in Europe, with some of the game’s biggest stars plying their trade in England, Spain and Germany.
According to Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, the top 10 footballers earned a combined $US112 million ($144 million) in the 12 months up to June 2017.
Cristiano Ronaldo was the clear leader, earning $US93 million ($122 million) over the period, with Lionel Messi coming in second on $US80 million ($105 million).
Ronaldo’s earnings are largely thanks to his endorsement deals, with the Portuguese star raking in $US32 million ($42 million) from sponsors such as Nike, Tag Heuer and Herbalife. He also has a lucrative contract with Real Madrid, which pays him $US50 million ($66 million) per year.
Messi’s earnings are more skewed towards his salary and bonuses from Barcelona, which amount to $US53 million ($70 million). He does have some major endorsement deals – including with Adidas, Pepsi and Samsung – but they only bring in an additional $US27 million ($35 million).
The world’s highest-paid cricketers
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player (so they are “out”). Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side either catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground, or by hitting a wicket with the ball before a batsman has scored. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record all runs scored, wickets taken and overs bowled.
The world’s highest-paid cricketers earn an average of more than $10 million per year according to Forbes magazine. Indian batsman Virat Kohli tops the list with earnings of $28 million in 2018, followed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni ($27 million) and Rohit Sharma ($20 million). Australian players David Warner ($17 million) and Steve Smith ($10 million) round out the top five.
The world’s highest-paid basketball players
In general, basketball players are among the highest-paid athletes in the world. The following is a list of the top 10 highest-paid basketball players for the 2020-2021 season:
1. LeBron James – $38.2 million
2. Kevin Durant – $37 million
3. Kawhi Leonard – $32 million
4. Russell Westbrook – $31 million
5. Damian Lillard – $30 million
6. Joel Embiid – $29 million
7. Chris Paul – $28 million
8. Kyrie Irving – $27 million
9. James Harden – $26 million
10. Donovan Mitchell – $26 million
The world’s highest-paid baseball players
The following is a list of the world’s highest-paid baseball players, as ranked by Forbes magazine in 2019. These are the top earners in Major League Baseball, including bonuses and other forms of compensation.
1. Mike Trout – $37.67 million
2. Clayton Kershaw – $33.72 million
3. Zack Greinke – $32.66 million
4. Justin Verlander – $28 million
5. Max Scherzer – $ 27.43 million
6. Gerrit Cole – $25 million
7. Miguel Cabrera – $24 million
8. Albert Pujols – $23 million
9. Felix Hernandez – $22 million
10. Rick Porcello – $21.58 million
The world’s highest-paid golfers
In 2018, Forbes released its annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes. Of the top 100, only 11 were golfers, led by Tiger Woods at No. 40 with earnings of $43.3 million. Here are the other 10 golfers who made the cut.
The world’s highest-paid tennis players
There is no single answer to the question of who is the most paid sports player. It all depends on factors such as the country they play in, their sponsorships, and their winnings. For example, tennis players in the United States tend to be amongst the highest-paid athletes in the world, due to the popularity of tennis in the country and the high prize money available in competitions such as the US Open.
Forbes Magazine publishes an annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, which provides a good indication of who is earning the most money in sports. In 2019, the top three highest-paid tennis players were all from the United States: 1. Serena Williams ($29.2 million); 2. Roger Federer ($93.4 million); and 3. Rafael Nadal ($US44 million).
The world’s highest-paid motorsport drivers
In 2018, the world’s highest-paid motorsport drivers earned a combined total of $423 million. The top earner was Lewis Hamilton, who made $51 million from salary, endorsements, and prize money. Sebastian Vettel was second with earnings of $50 million, followed by Fernando Alonso with $32 million.
The world’s highest-paid athletes in other sports
In addition to the world’s highest-paid soccer players, here are the athletes from other sports who earn the most money.
Tennis star Roger Federer is the highest-paid athlete in the world, not counting soccer players. He earned an estimated $106.3 million in 2019, including $100 million from endorsements, according to Forbes.
Second on the list is LeBron James, who is also a NBA player. He earned an estimated $85.5 million in salary and endorsements last year.
Rounding out the top five are Kevin Durant, Tiger Woods, and Kirk Cousins. Durant and Woods both play basketball, while Cousins is a NFL quarterback.