World News 17 Mayıs 2024

Four of top 10 highest-paid athletes employed by Saudi-backed clubs

Four of top 10 highest-paid athletes employed by Saudi-backed clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo has topped Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes for the fourth time in his career.

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm took second place following his switch to Saudi-backed LIV Golf.

Ronaldo became the world’s highest-paid athlete after his move to Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr and Forbes said the 39-year-old’s estimated total earnings were around $260m (£205m) – an all-time high for a football player.

Four of top 10 highest-paid athletes employed by Saudi-backed clubs
Image:
Jon Rahm came in second. Pic: Jeff Faughender/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

His on-field earnings amounted to $200m (£158m) while off-field he earned $60m (£47m) thanks to sponsorship deals where brands make use of his 629 million Instagram followers.

Rahm earned $218m (£172m) and joins Ronaldo as the only two athletes to earn over $200m.

Four of top 10 highest-paid athletes employed by Saudi-backed clubs
Image:
Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi. Pic: David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Third on the list is record eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, who switched to Major League Soccer team Inter Miami, which helped the Argentine World Cup winner earn $135m (£107m).

The 36-year-old earned $65m (£51m) in on-field earnings but $70m (£55m) off it from deals with major sponsors such as Adidas and Apple.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James came in fourth at $128m (£101m), while fellow NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks made fifth with $111m (£88m).

France football captain Kylian Mbappe dropped down to sixth with $110m (£87m).

Neymar, who also moved to the Saudi Pro League to join Al-Hilal, is seventh with $108m (£85m), despite sitting out the majority of the season with a torn ACL.

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French striker Karim Benzema, who also moved to Saudi Arabia, is eighth on the list with $106m (£84m), followed by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry with $102m (£80m).

Lamar Jackson is the only NFL player on the list, in 10th place with $101m (£80m), thanks to the signing bonus negotiated into his new Baltimore Ravens contract last year.

source

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