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2019 World's Highest-Paid Athletes

2019 Jun 20

Forbes announced the 10 highest-paid athletes in the world and this is the first time that soccer players have ranked as the top three earners in sports.

Barcelona soccer legend Lionel Messi booked the No. 1 spot on this year's list with $127 million. The Argentine is joined by his fellow global soccer icons Cristiano Ronaldo ($109 million) and Neymar ($105 million) at the top this year, as well as, basketball's leading trio of LeBron James ($89 million), Stephen Curry ($79.8 million) and Kevin Durant ($65.4 million) rank eighth through tenth.

1. Lionel Messi

   •   Total: $127M

   •   Source of Wealth: Soccer

   •   Salary & Bonus: $92M

   •   Endorsements: $35M

   •   Residence: Castelldefels, Spain

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Adidas, Gatorade, Lays, Pepsi, Ooredoo, Mastercard, Jacobs & Co.

   •   Club: FC Barcelona Nationality: Argentine Age: 31

Lionel Messi has played 687 matches for Barcelona, scored 603 goals, and won 33 club titles, including 10 La Liga titles since his debut in 2003.

His current contract with Barcelona is through 2020-21 and pays him over $80 million annually. In addition, Barca’s captain has a lifelong deal with Adidas.

The Argentine has been awarded FIFA's Player of the Year five times and won the European Golden Shoe for top scorer on the continent a record six times.

In 2016, Messi was convicted of tax fraud in Spanish court for avoiding income tax between 2007 and 2009. He was ordered to pay a $2.25 million fine, and his 21-month prison sentence was cut to a $250,000 fine.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

   •   Total: $109M

   •   Source of Wealth: Soccer

   •   Salary & Bonus: $65M

   •   Endorsements: $44M

   •   Residence: Turin, Italy

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Nike, Herbalife, Altice, DAZN, MTG, Electronic Arts, CR7 line of denim, underwear, footwear, fragrance, hotels and gyms

   •   Club: Juventus Nationality: Portuguese Age: 34

After nine years with Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo joined the Italian club Juventus in July 2018 for a gross annual salary of $64 million.

Within a day of release, Juventus sold 520,000 Ronaldo jerseys worth over $60 million.

The Portuguese star has won FIFA's Player of the Year Award five times and he is the first player to win Premier League, La Liga and Serie A titles. CR7 also is the all-time leading goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League.

3. Neymar

   •   Total: $105M

   •   Source of Wealth: Soccer

   •   Salary & Bonus: $75M

   •   Endorsements: $30M

   •   Residence: Sao Paulo, Brazil

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Nike, Red Bull, EA Sports, Mastercard, Gaga Milano, Gillette, Beats by Dre, DAZN

   •   Club: Paris Saint-Germain Nationality: Brazilian Age: 27

Neymar is on a five-year contract with the French club, Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022 worth $350 million in salary.

The Brazilian’s transfer from Barcelona to PSG stands as the most expensive in the world at $263 million, which the French club paid in full ahead of his signing. 

The 27-year-old Neymar lost Brazil’s national team captaincy after an altercation with a fan in the stands after PSG’s loss in the French Cup.

4. Canelo Alvarez

   •   Total: $94M

   •   Source of Wealth: Boxing

   •   Salary & Bonus: $92M

   •   Endorsements: $2M

   •   Residence: San Diego, California

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: DAZN, Everlast

   •   Nationality: Mexican Age: 28

The Mexican professional boxer has held multiple world championships in three weight classes, including the unified WBA (Super), WBC, Ring magazine, and lineal middleweight titles since 2018, the IBF middleweight title since May 2019, and the WBA (Regular) super middleweight title since December 2018.

5. Roger Federer

   •   Total: $93.4M

   •   Source of Wealth Tennis

   •   Salary & Bonus: $7.4M

   •   Endorsements: $86M

   •   Residence: Valbella, Switzerland

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Wilson Sporting Goods, Barilla, Credit Suisse Group (ADS), Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Uniqlo

   •   Nationality: Swiss Age: 37

Currently ranked world No. 3, Roger Federer has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles—the most in history for a male player—and has held the world No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a record total of 310 weeks, including a record 237 consecutive weeks.

6. Russell Wilson

   •   Total: $89.5M

   •   Source of Wealth: Football

   •   Salary & Bonus: $80.5M

   •   Endorsements: $9M

   •   Residence: Bellevue, Washington

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Wilson Sporting Goods, Amazon, Alaska Air Group, Bose, Mercedes-Benz, Nike

   •   Nationality: American Age: 30

The Seahawks signed the six-time Pro Bowler to a four-year, $140 million contract extension that made Wilson the NFL's highest-paid player.

The American football quarterback is the CEO of brand management firm West2East Empire.

7. Aaron Rodgers

   •   Total: $89.3M

   •   Source of Wealth: Football

   •   Salary & Bonus: $80.3M

   •   Endorsements: $9M

   •   Residence: Del Mar, California

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Prevea Healthcare, Panini, Adidas, Bose, State Farm

   •   Nationality: American Age: 35

Aaron Rodgers, the American football quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, is a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time MVP winner.

8. LeBron James

   •   Total: $89M

   •   Source of Wealth Basketball

   •   Salary & Bonus: $36M

   •   Endorsements: $53M

   •   Residence: Los Angeles, California

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Beats Electronics, RIMOWA, Coca-Cola, KIA Motors, Nike

   •   Nationality: American Age: 34

In 2018, LeBron James joined the Los Angeles Lakers under a four-year, $153 million contract.

James’ achievements include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals.

9. Stephen Curry

   •   Total: $79.8M

   •   Source of Wealth: Basketball

   •   Salary & Bonus: $37.8M

   •   Endorsements: $42M

   •   Residence: Walnut Creek, California

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Chase, Nissan Motor, Under Armour

   •   Nationality: American Age: 31

The two-time MVP Stephen Curry plays for the Golden State Warriors in the National Basketball Association. A six-time NBA All-Star, he won three NBA championships with the Warriors.

10. Kevin Durant

   •   Total: $65.4M

   •   Source of Wealth: Basketball

   •   Salary & Bonus: $30.4M

   •   Endorsements: $35M

   •   Residence: Oakland, California

   •   Largest Sponsors/Partners: Google, Alaska Air Group, Nike

   •   Nationality: American Age: 30

Kevin Durant is also a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors.

As a professional, Durant has won two NBA championships, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two Finals MVP Awards, two NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and two Olympic gold medals and he has also been selected to nine All-NBA teams and ten NBA All-Star teams.