Ronaldo earns twice as much money as Messi

By Hong Duy   May 18, 2024 | 03:00 pm PT
By earning $260 million in 12 months, Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo made twice as much money as his rival Lionel Messi, and has topped Forbes's global list of highest paid athletes.
Cristiano Ronaldo on Al Nassrs training ground on May 16, 2024. Photo by Al Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo on Al Nassr's training ground on May 16, 2024. Photo by Al Nassr

Ronaldo became the world's highest-paid athlete after moving to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League. Forbes reported on Thursday that the Portuguese striker earned about $260 million in the past 12 months, a record number for a footballer.

The 39-year-old star has a fixed salary of $200 million and pocketed an additional $60 million thanks to sponsorship deals, including advertising for many brands on his Instagram of more than 600 million followers. Ronaldo’s contract with Al Nassr is valid until 2025. He has said that he wants to continue playing football at the top level.

Meanwhile, Messi was third on the list, earning $135 million after moving to Inter Miami in the U.S. national football league MLS. This number includes $65 million in salary and $70 million from contracts with major sponsors such as Adidas and Apple.

At second, between these two football stars is Jon Rahm, a golfer who switched to competing in the tournament system of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), despite being one of the top players of the PGA Tour. The Spanish player is said to have received an offer worth about nearly $550 million on a four-year contract.

According to Forbes, Rahm received $218 million in the past 12 months. He and Ronaldo are the only two athletes to earn more than $200 million.

The remaining two names on the top five are the NBA (National Basketball Association) basketball stars LeBron James from the Los Angeles Lakers with $128.2 million and Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks with $111 million.

France national football team captain Kylian Mbappe dropped to sixth with $110 million. His former teammate Neymar, who joined Al Hilal in the Saudi Pro League, is right behind him with $108 million. The remaining names in the top 10 are striker Karim Benzema ($106 million), basketball star Steph Curry and American football player Lamar Jackson from the NFL (National Football League) at $100.5 million.

In total, the 50 highest-paid athletes in the world earned about $3.88 billion over the past 12 months. This figure does not include taxes or agency fees, and is an increase of 13% compared to last year's record of $3.44 billion.

About 76% of the figure ($2.94 billion) came from fixed salaries and the remaining 24% ($936 million) was from sponsorships, advertising, events and other businesses, down 13% over the same period of last year ($1.08 billion).

The NBA had the most athletes on the list with 19, followed by the NFL with 11 and football with 8.

Rahm is one of 22 athletes under 30 years old on the list, which signals a generational transition. People who have repeatedly topped the Forbes list such as Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Tom Brady have retired, while Ronaldo, LeBron James, Tiger Woods and three other athletes over 39 years old are also entering the final stages of their careers.

go to top