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Messi is world’s highest-paid athlete, followed by Lebron James, Ronaldo

By Guardian Nigeria
13 May 2022   |   3:56 am
PSG and Argentina forward, Lionel Messi, has been unveiled as the world’s highest-paid athlete, with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo made to settle for third place, reports

PSG and Argentina forward, Lionel Messi, has been unveiled as the world’s highest-paid athlete, with Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo made to settle for third place, reports

As arguably the two greatest of all-time, it is no surprise that Messi and Ronaldo are the two footballers to rake in the biggest amounts of cash. It’s not only their on-field antics that allow them to live lavish lifestyles though, with their incredible marketability allowing for various endorsements to bring in almost just as much money.

The only footballer to join Messi and Ronaldo on the top 10 list is the former’s PSG team-mate, Neymar. There are several basketball superstars raking it in, while some experienced heads from other sports have their big-money deals to thank for their growing net worth.

Forbes claim Messi made well over £100 million in pre-tax gross earnings over the last 12 months.

NBA legend, LeBron James, didn’t have a season to remember on the court as the LA Lakers missed out on the playoffs. However, the 37-year-old keeps on winning when it comes to making money.

James will have picked up a tidy pay cheque from starring in last year’s Space Jam: A New Legacy movie, more success from his YouTube talk show The Shop, and selling and re-investing in various assets.

For Ronaldo, it was a highly emotional return to Manchester United last summer, and his back pocket doesn’t seem to have taken much of a hit either, with his £500,000-per- week still paying the bills.

Now 37, the Portuguese is just as marketable as ever, boasting the most followers of anyone on Instagram with 439 million, and hundreds of millions more on his other socials. Ronaldo earns roughly the same amount on the pitch as he does off it, so even when he does decide to hang up his boots, rest assured the money isn’t going to dry up.

Neymar is clearly a forward thinking investor too, having spent around £737, 000 on buying two NFT’s from the Bored Ape Yacht Club. It’s thought Neymar now owns the most expensive of all 10,000 of the highly sought-after ape tokens, with Ape 5269 costing 189.69 ETH.

Golden State Warriors guard, Steph Curry, is the highest-paid player in the NBA after signing a contract extension last August. The three-time NBA champion makes just shy of £40 million every year thanks to his staggering on-court performances.

But the 34-year-old also clearly knows where to invest too, dabbling in NFT’s and cryptocurrency, like various other sports stars. Curry’s net worth will no doubt have received a boost from a development deal with Comcast NBCUniversal for his production company Unanimous Media.

In sixth position is Kevin Durant, another basketball icon, who earns a healthy salary being the star man for the Brooklyn Nets. But he also makes plenty of dough through his sponsorship with Nike, almost £23 million to be precise, as well as sponsorships from the likes of Coinbase and Weedmaps.

Seventh-placed Roger Federer is the undisputed GOAT of tennis. Federer hasn’t actually played a competitive match in 2022, but he’s still the seventh best-paid athlete in the world. The Swiss has deals with Uniqlo and Rolex and also invested in shoe brand ON.

Boxer, Canelo is thought to have earned around £32 million from his two pay-per-view fights before losing to Bivol.

Canelo has a number of lucrative sponsorships, but intends to build up an empire thanks to his taco restaurants and opening gas stations, while his Canelo Promotions is working with DAZN to put on fights in Mexico.

Tom Brady, who u-turned on his retirement decision, meaning he will be back in action for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2022 season, is number nine on the list. He could be forgiven for thinking seven Super Bowl rings is enough – he certainly doesn’t need the money.

To add on to his investment portfolio that includes an NFT platform, two production companies and a clothes line, Brady is also set to take up a commentator role with Fox Sports. If you were worried he might struggle in his eventual retirement, fear not, as Brady is set to earn over £300m over the next 10 years at Fox.

Nigerian-born Greek basketball superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo (Gani Adetokunbo), is the only member of the list not yet past 30. Fresh from his NBA championship success, Antetokounmpo rounds off the top 10. The Milwaukee Bucks’ two-time MVP agreed a new five-year contract in December 2020 worth a total of £186 million.

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