Given that there are so many athletes out there, it can be hard to decide which ones are worth your attention. Which stars are earning the most money? Who are the top earners in their respective sports? In this article, we aim to provide you with a comprehensive list of the 15 highest paid athletes in the world. From tennis players to footballers, these superstars are raking in the cash!
15. Neymar — $580 million
Neymar is one of the most high-profile and well-paid athletes in the world, and he’s definitely not slowing down anytime soon. In just the past year, he’s earned a total of $580 million from playing football (soccer) for Barcelona and Brazil. He’s also made money from endorsements, TV appearances, and other ventures.
If you’re looking to make a fortune like Neymar does, then you’ll need to be really good at your sport – or at least have a lot of talent! Neymar started playing football at a very young age, which is probably one of the reasons why he’s been so successful. He was always able to show off his skills on the field, even when his team wasn’t performing well.
Though Neymar may not be playing in Europe anymore (he moved to Paris Saint-Germain this season), he still has plenty of opportunities to make money – especially since he’s such a popular figure. He may not be as dominant as he once was, but there’s no doubt that he has some serious cash flow going into the future.
14. Shaquille O’Neal — $645 million
Shaquille O’Neal is easily one of the most recognizable and successful athletes of all time. He’s won multiple championships, been named an All-Star multiple times, and is generally considered to be one of the greatest players of all time.
Most notably, Shaquille O’Neal has earned a fortune by playing in the NBA for over 20 years. During that time, he’s amassed career earnings of $645 million. This includes salary, bonuses, endorsements, property deals and other income sources. Shaq also owns a minority share in the Miami Heat basketball team, which brings his total net worth to an impressive $1.3 billion!
13. Kobe Bryant — $750 million
Kobe Bryant is one of the most decorated players in the history of professional basketball. He’s won five NBA championships, three with the Los Angeles Lakers and two with the Miami Heat. He also holds a record for most total points scored in an NBA career (2,640). Bryant has also been awarded several accolades, including five MVP awards and four regular-season Most Valuable Player awards. In 2016, he was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Bryant’s wealth comes primarily from his share of the revenue generated by the Lakers through TV and merchandise contracts as well as appearances and endorsements. His salary and commercial earnings have exceeded $750 million throughout his career. However, his net worth is likely much higher due to investments in property and businesses.
12. Michael Schumacher — $780 million
Michael Schumacher has won more Formula One World Championships than any other driver, and he’s also one of the highest-paid athletes in the world. In 2014, he was named the wealthiest sportsman in the world by Forbes magazine, with an estimated net worth of $780 million.
Schumacher is a two-time Formula One World Champion and seven-time runner-up. He has also competed in numerous other racing series, including CART, DTM, and IndyCar. His career earnings total over $1 billion.
Despite his retirement from racing in 2012, Michael Schumacher continues to make money through endorsement deals and business ventures. He is a shareholder in several businesses, including an automobile dealership and a hotel chain. He also owns several properties around the world, including an estate on the French Riviera that boasts a swimming pool and tennis court.
11. Jack Nicklaus — $830 million
There are several high-paid athletes out there, but these three guys — Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, and LeBron James — make up the majority of the list.
Each of these athletes has made a ton of money during their careers, thanks in large part to their impressive win totals. Jack Nicklaus is now retired, but he’s still among the richest athletes in the world with an estimated net worth of $830 million. Tiger Woods is second on this list with an estimated net worth of $760 million. And finally, LeBron James is third on this list with an estimated net worth of $740 million.
All three of these athletes have also been very successful in licensing their images and logos to various businesses and products. This has helped them rake in a lot of cash over the years, and they’re not done yet! All three are expected to continue making money well into their retirement years.
10. David Beckham — $880 million
David Beckham is one of the most famous and successful athletes in the world, and he’s also one of the highest paid. He earned $880 million between 2016 and 2017, which makes him the 10th highest-paid athlete in the world.
Beckham is best known for his time with Manchester United, where he won 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League titles. He has also played for LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Milan, AC Milan and Everton – making him a global icon. Though he’s now retired from professional football, Beckham continues to be involved with several businesses and charities.
9. Phil Mickelson — $885 million
The nine highest-paid athletes in the world are all athletes from professional sports leagues. Phil Mickelson is the highest-earning of these athletes, with a total income of $885 million over the past year.
This list includes several familiar names, such as LeBron James and Lionel Messi. However, one name that may be new to you is Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo ranks fourth on this list, with an income of $789 million over the past year.
All of these athletes are extremely successful at what they do, and their salaries reflect that. Their salaries not only support them financially but also allow them to live glamorous lifestyles far beyond what most people could ever dream of.
8. Arnold Palmer — $885 million
Arnold Palmer is one of the most iconic golfers of all time, and his legacy has continued long after his death in 2006. He was recently ranked 8th on The Daily Mail’s list of the highest-paid athletes of all time with an annual income of $885 million.
Palmer’s success as a golfer is well-known, but what many people don’t know is that he also had a successful career as a professional golfer from 1955 to 1986. During that time, he won 18 major championships and became one of the wealthiest athletes in the world. His earnings from golf alone amounted to $700 million by 1990.
Though his career ended more than 25 years ago, Palmer remains an active player and maintains a regular tour schedule. He has also founded several organizations that support children’s charities and other humanitarian causes. His legacy will live on for years to come – thanks in part to his lucrative career as a professional athlete.
7. Roger Federer — $1 billion
Roger Federer is one of the most successful athletes in history, and he’s made a whopping $1 billion from his career. He started off playing tennis when he was just a kid, and he has since won more Grand Slam titles than any other athlete in history.
Federer is known for his incredible skills on the court, but he’s also got an excellent sense of business. He’s been able to turn his career into a full-time job, and his winnings have allowed him to live a luxurious lifestyle that most people can only dream of. In addition to his enormous fortune, Federer also owns several luxury properties around the world.
6. LeBron James — $1.05 billion
LeBron James is the highest-paid athlete in the world, with a total income of $1.05 billion in 2017. This figure includes salary, bonus payments, endorsements, and other sources of income.
James’ salary of $27.5 million was the highest paid in basketball that year – an increase of 5% from the previous year. His salary is also second in terms of earnings only to American football stars Tom Brady and Cristiano Ronaldo.
James has accumulated a huge amount of wealth through his years as a professional basketball player, and he is now one of the wealthiest athletes in the world. He has investments in various businesses, including Nike and Dunkin’ Donuts, and owns several homes around the US and abroad. He also has a charitable foundation that helps disadvantaged children around the world.
5. Lionel Messi — $1.05 billion
Lionel Messi is the highest-paid athlete in the world, and he’s not too far behind from being the best player in the world. He earns an annual salary of $1.05 billion, which makes him one of the highest-paid athletes in history.
He’s also known for his charitable work – he raises money for various charities through his foundation, which helps children in need around the globe. He’s also heavily involved in politics and frequently speaks out on social issues. Overall, Lionel Messi is a remarkable person and a great example to all sportspersons out there!
4. Floyd Mayweather — $1.08 billion
In terms of annual earnings, Floyd Mayweather is easily the highest-paid athlete in the world. He has made over $1 billion from his boxing career alone, and this doesn’t include any income he’s earned from endorsements or other ventures. Mayweather is also one of the few athletes who has never been suspended from professional boxing competitions.
Mayweather is known for his aggressive style of fighting, which leads many people to believe that he’s simply cheating when he fights. However, this hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the most successful boxers in history. He has won 49 out of 50 matches he’s fought and is currently undefeated in professional boxing (with a record of 48-0).
Though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, boxing fans will certainly enjoy seeing Floyd Mayweather continue to make headlines and rack up accolades as one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.
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3. Cristiano Ronaldo — $1.12 billion
Cristiano Ronaldo is easily one of the most popular and well-known athletes in the world. He’s won multiple awards, including five Ballons d’Or (the French equivalent of the MVP award), and he has a total net worth of $1.12 billion. This makes him the third highest-paid athlete in the world, behind only LeBron James and Tiger Woods.
Ronaldo’s career has been nothing short of spectacular, and his success on the field has translated into massive financial success off of it as well. He’s made a lot of money by endorsing multiple brands, selling merchandise like never before, and appearing in various TV shows and movies. He even set a new World Cup record for scoring goals in a single tournament!
2. Tiger Woods — $1.66 billion
Tiger Woods is the highest-paid athlete of all time, and he’s not slowing down any time soon. In 2018 alone, he earned $862 million from his career in golf. That’s more than any other athlete has ever made in a year!
Woods also continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons. Earlier this year, he was caught on video allegedly cheating at a golf tournament. This led to widespread public criticism and calls for him to retire from professional golfing. However, Tiger is still very much active and playing in tournaments around the world. His earnings will likely continue to rise as long as he’s able to stay healthy and win major championships.
1. Michael Jordan — $2.05 billion
Michael Jordan is the highest-paid athlete of all time, and his earnings reflect this. Throughout his career, he has won more than 50 championships and earned over $2 billion in total earnings.
He started his career with the Chicago Bulls, and after winning multiple titles with them, he moved to the Washington Wizards where he continued to win championships. He then moved to the Los Angeles Lakers where he won five more championships before retiring in 1998.
Since then, Jordan has remained active by playing in several exhibition games and serving as a spokesperson for various Nike products. He also owns an NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, and is currently working on a new basketball stadium in downtown Charlotte.
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