• Top List

The 100 highest-paid athletes in the world revealed

Getty Images
Advertisement

Cristiano Ronaldo, Conor McGregor, Lionel Messi, LeBron James, Tom Brady, and more all feature in this top 100 highest-paid athletes list.

Conor McGregor is the world’s highest-paid athlete. The Irish mixed martial artist earns a reported $202 million from his winnings and endorsement deals. Football legends Lionel Messi ($126m) and Cristiano Ronaldo ($120m) round off the top three.

Despite the global financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes across the world continue to bank some eye-watering figures.

Sports business website Sportico has now estimated exactly how much the world’s top sportsmen have earned in the past year by calculating their incomes from salaries, winnings, and endorsements.

1 to 20

As previously mentioned, McGregor is the highest-paid athlete in the world. In fact, the UFC fighter reportedly earns $82 million more than Barcelona football star Messi.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, earns $6m less than his long-time rival. That could change soon, though. Given the pandemic, along with Barcelona’s debts, Messi would have to take a pay cut to continue at Camp Nou if he chooses to stay this summer.

Four-time NBA winner LeBron James, seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, and four-time PGA Championship winner Tiger Woods are also among the world’s highest earners.

PosAthleteSportEarnings
1Conor McGregorBoxing$208M
2Lionel MessiFootball$126M
3Cristiano RonaldoFootball$120M
4Dak PrescottAmerican football$108.4M
5LeBron JamesBasketball$101.8M
6NeymarFootball$100M
7Roger FedererTennis$84M
8Tom BradyAmerican football$80.4M
9Kevin DurantBasketball$80.1M
10Stephen CurryBasketball$74.5M
11Lewis HamiltonFormula 1$64M
12Canelo ÁlvarezBoxing$63M
13Tiger WoodsGolf$62.2M
14Russell WestbrookBasketball$61.1M
15Naomi OsakaTennis$55.2M
16James HardenBasketball$51.1M
17Giannis AntetokounmpoBasketball$49.2M
18David BakhtiariAmerican football$48.2M
19Ronnie StanleyAmerican football$47.2M
20Patrick MahomesAmerican football$46.5M

21 to 40

Gareth Bale, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Andres Iniesta are the only football players to make the cut between the 21st and 40th highest-paid athletes.

Iniesta has recently signed a new two-year contract with Japanese club Vissel Kobe. The former Barcelona captain, therefore, will prolong his career until his 39th birthday in 2023.

Phil Mickelson heads this list after becoming the oldest PGA Championship winner in golf at the age of 50 in May.

PosAthleteSportEarnings
21Phil MickelsonGolf$46.1M
22Joey BosaAmerican football$43.8M
23Klay ThompsonBasketball$43.3M
24Kyrie IrvingBasketball$43.2M
25Trent WilliamsAmerican football$42.9M
26Myles GarrettAmerican football$42.8M
27Jalen RamseyAmerican football$42.6M
28Gareth BaleFootball$41.9M
29Dustin JohnsonGolf$40.8M
30Antoine GriezmannFootball$40.6M
31Damian LillardBasketball$40.4M
32Chris PaulBasketball$40.2M
33Kylian MbappéFootball$40.1M
34DeAndre HopkinsAmerican football$39.5M
35Andrés IniestaFootball$39M
36Leonard WilliamsAmerican football$38.8M
37Marlon HumphreyAmerican football$37.3M
38Paul GeorgeBasketball$37M
39Anthony DavisBasketball$36.6M
40Francisco LindorBaseball$36.6M

41 to 60

Football stars Mohamed Salah, Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, and Robert Lewandowski all made the cut with over $30 million in this list.

Women’s tennis legend Serena Williams, meanwhile, banked a whopping figure of $35.5M for 44th-place.

PosAthleteSportEarnings
41Chris JonesAmerican football$36.2M
42Shaquil BarrettAmerican football$36.2M
43Mohamed SalahFootball$36.1M
44Serena WilliamsTennis$35.5M
45Deshaun WatsonAmerican football$35.4M
46Matt JudonAmerican football$35M
47Jimmy ButlerBasketball$34.8M
48J.J. WattAmerican football$34.5M
49John WallBasketball$34.5M
50Paul PogbaFootball$34.4M
51Kawhi LeonardBasketball$33.6M
52Novak DjokovicTennis$33.4M
53Eden HazardFootball$33M
54Rory McIlroyGolf$32.8M
55Ben SimmonsBasketball$32.6M
56Bud DupreeAmerican football$32M
57Joe ThuneyAmerican football$31.9M
58Robert LewandowskiFootball$31.6M
59Virat KohliCricket$31.5M
60Devin BookerBasketball$30.6M

61 to 80

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne ($28.5M) and Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea ($28.4M) are the only two footballers placed between 61st and 80th-place in this list.

PosAthleteSportEarnings
61Kemba WalkerBasketball$30.6M
62Blake GriffinBasketball$30M
63Tyler LockettAmerican football$29.8M
64Joel EmbiidBasketball$29.7M
65Jordan SpiethGolf$29.6M
66Joe BurrowAmerican football$29M
67Khalil MackAmerican football$29M
68Tobias HarrisBasketball$29M
69D’Angelo RussellBasketball$28.9M
70Mike ConleyBasketball$28.7M
71Cameron HeywardAmerican football$28.6M
71DeForest BucknerAmerican football$28.6M
73Kevin De BruyneFootball$28.5M
74David de GeaFootball$28.4M
75Mike TroutBaseball$28.4M
76Zion WilliamsonBasketball$28.2M
77Kristaps PorziņģisBasketball$28.1M
78Russell WilsonAmerican football$28M
79Sebastian VettelFormula 1$28M
80Donovan SmithAmerican football$27.8M

81 to 100

Despite spending most of 2020 off the court, Rafa Nadal bagged a sweet $26.5 million. The tennis legend’s earnings mostly came from endorsement deals from sports manufacturers such as Nike.

Raheem Sterling, Angel Di Maria, and Philippe Coutinho are the three football stars who made the cut between 81st and 100th-place.

PosAthleteSportEarnings
81Raheem SterlingFootball$27.7M
82CJ McCollumBasketball$27.5M
83Ángel Di MaríaFootball$27.2M
84Khris MiddletonBasketball$27.1M
85Kevin LoveBasketball$27M
86Kenny ClarkAmerican football$26.9M
87Stephen StrasburgBaseball$26.7M
88Justin SimmonsAmerican football$26.6M
89Karl-Anthony TownsBasketball$26.6M
90Kei NishikoriTennis$26.6M
91Tre’Davious WhiteAmerican football$26.6M
92Matthew StaffordAmerican football$26.5M
93Rafael NadalTennis$26.5M
94Taylor DeckerAmerican football$26.4M
95Max VerstappenFormula 1$26.3M
96DeMar DeRozanBasketball$26.2M
97Philippe CoutinhoFootball$26.2M
98Clayton KershawBaseball$26.1M
99Laremy TunsilAmerican football$26.1M
100Kyle LowryBasketball$26M
ADVERTISEMENT