Top 25 Highest Paid Athletes

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This list of the 25 top athletes in the world has been released from forbes, and the athletes earning top-dollar come from across the spectrum. There are eight NBA players, four golfers, four soccer players, three race car drivers, two NFL players, two tennis players, a fighter and a runner.

Here is the list:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo: $93 million

Salary/bonuses: $58 million
Endorsements: $35 million

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro  is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Portugal national team. Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, Ronaldo has five Ballon d’Or awards, the most for a European player and is tied for most all-time. He is the first player in history to win four European Golden Shoes. He has won 25 trophies in his career, including five league titles, four UEFA Champions League titles and one UEFA European Championship. A prolific goalscorer, Ronaldo holds the records for most official goals scored in the top five European leagues (380), the UEFA Champions League , the UEFA European Championship  and the FIFA Club World Cup , as well as most goals scored in a UEFA Champions League season . He has scored more than 600 senior career goals for club and country.

2. LeBron James: $86.2 million

Salary/bonuses: $31.2 million
Endorsements: $55 million

LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Widely regarded as one of the greatest NBA players of all time, he has won three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, two Olympic gold medals, an NBA scoring title, and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. James has been selected to 14 NBA All-Star teams, 13 All-NBA teams, and six All-Defensive teams. He is also the Cavaliers’ all-time scoring leader, the NBA All-Star Game career scoring leader, and the NBA career playoff scoring leader.

3. Lionel Messi: $80 million

Salary/bonuses: $53 million
Endorsements: $27 million

Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. Often considered the best player in the world and regarded by many as the greatest of all time, Messi has a record-tying five Ballon d’Or awards, four of which he won consecutively, and a record-tying four European Golden Shoes. He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won 29 trophies, including eight La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League titles, and five Copas del Rey. Both a prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for most official goals scored in La Liga (368), a La Liga season (50), a club football season in Europe (73), a calendar year (91), El Clásico (26), as well as those for most assists made in La Liga (146) and the Copa América (11). He has scored over 600 senior career goals for club and country.

4. Roger Federer: $64 million

Prize money: $6 million
Endorsements: $58 million

Roger Federer born 8 August 1981) is a Swiss professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 2 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He is projected to be ranked world No. 1 on the 19th February, 2018. 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 total of 302 weeks, including a stretch of 237 consecutive weeks between February 2004 and August 2008. After turning professional in 1998, he was continuously ranked in the top ten from October 2002 to November 2016. He re-entered the top ten following his victory at the 2017 Australian Open.

5. Kevin Durant: $60.6 million

Salary/bonuses: $26.6 million
Endorsements: $34 million

Kevin Wayne Durant (born September 29, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has won an NBA championship, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award, the NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and two Olympic gold medals. Durant has also been selected to seven All-NBA teams and eight NBA All-Star teams.

6. Rory McIlroy: $50 million

Prize money: $16 million
Endorsements: $34 million

Rory McIlroy, MBE (born 4 May 1989) is a professional golfer from Northern Ireland who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. He was world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking for 95 weeks. He is a four-time major champion, winning the 2011 U.S Open, (setting a tournament record score of −16), 2012 PGA Championship (with a tournament record margin of victory (8 strokes)), 2014 Open Championship, and 2014 PGA Championship. Along with Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth he is one of four players to win three majors by the age of 25.

7. Andrew Luck: $50 million

Salary/bonuses: $47 million
Endorsements: $3 million

Andrew Austen Luck (born September 12, 1989) is an American football quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Stanford, where he won the Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Award as college football’s player of the year and was twice recognized as an All-American.[1] He was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in both 2010 and 2011. He was named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Pac-12 (Pac-10) Conference in both 2010 and 2011. CBS Sports draft analyst Rob Rang called Luck the best prospect he had ever scouted, while the Kansas City Star put him in line with LeBron James and Bryce Harper as “the most hyped amateurs in recent sports memory.”

8. Stephen Curry: $47.3 million

Salary/bonuses: $12.3 million
Endorsements: $35 million

Wardell Stephen Curry II is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Many players and analysts have called him the greatest shooter in NBA history.[1] In 2014–15, Curry won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and led the Warriors to their first championship since 1975. The following season, he became the first player in NBA history to be elected MVP by a unanimous vote and to lead the league in scoring while shooting above 50–40–90. That same year, the Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season en route to reaching the 2016 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry helped the Warriors return to the NBA Finals for a third straight year in 2017, where he won his second NBA championship.

9. James Harden: $46.6 million

Salary/bonuses: $26.6 million
Endorsements: $20 million

James Edward Harden Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Harden played college basketball for Arizona State, where he was named a consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. Harden was selected with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2012, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Thunder and helped the team reach the NBA Finals.

10. Lewis Hamilton: $46 million

Salary/bonuses: $38 million
Endorsements: $8 million

Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE (born 7 January 1985) is a British racing driver who races in Formula One for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team. A four-time Formula One World Champion, he is often considered the best driver of his generation and widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport. He won his first World Championship title with McLaren in 2008, then moved to Mercedes where he won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 before winning his fourth title in 2017. Statistically the most successful British driver in the history of the sport, Hamilton has won more World Championship titles (4) and more race victories than any other British driver in Formula One (62). He also holds records for the all-time most career points (2,610), the most wins at different circuits (24), the all-time most pole positions (72) and the most grand slams in a season

11. Drew Brees: $45.3 million

Salary/bonuses: $31.3 million
Endorsements: $14 million

Drew Christopher Brees (born January 15, 1979) is an American football quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League (NFL). After a prolific college football career at Purdue University, he was chosen by the San Diego Chargers with the first pick in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He left college as one of the most decorated players in Purdue and Big Ten Conference history, establishing two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records, and 19 Purdue University records. As of 2017, he remains the Big Ten record-holder in several passing categories, including completions (1,026), attempts (1,678), and yards (11,792).

 

12. Phil Mickelson: $43.5 million

Prize money: $3.5 million
Endorsements: $40 million

Philip Alfred Mickelson (born June 16, 1970), nicknamed Lefty, is an American professional golfer. He has won 42 events on the PGA Tour, including five major championships: three Masters titles (2004, 2006, 2010), a PGA Championship (2005), and an Open Championship (2013).

Mickelson is one of sixteen players in the history of golf to win at least three of the four majors. He has won every major except the U.S. Open, where he has finished runner-up a record six times.

Mickelson has spent over 700 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking, has reached a career-high world ranking of No.2 several times and is a life member of the PGA Tour. Known for his left-handed swing, even though otherwise right-handed, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

13. Russell Westbrook: $38.6 million

Salary/bonuses: $26.6 million
Endorsements: $12 million

Russell Westbrook III (born November 12, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is a seven-time NBA All-Star, and a two-time NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, winning consecutive awards in 2015 and 2016. He is also an six-time All-NBA Team member and led the league in scoring in 2014–15 and 2016–17. In 2017, Westbrook became one of two players in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season, along with Oscar Robertson in 1962. He also set a record for the most triple-doubles in a season, with 42. He was subsequently named the 2016–17 NBA Most Valuable Player.

14. Sebastian Vettel: $38.5 million

Salary/bonuses: $38 million
Endorsements: $500,000

Sebastian Vettel is a German racing driver currently driving in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari. He is a four-time Formula One World Champion, having won the championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Red Bull Racing. He is regarded by fellow and former drivers as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport. Leaving Red Bull for the 2015 season, Vettel initially signed a three-year contract with Ferrari, which was later extended until the end of 2020.

15. Damian Lillard: $38.4 million

Salary/bonuses: $24.4 million
Endorsements: $14 million

Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard (born July 15, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Weber State Wildcats and earned third-team All-American honors in 2012. After being selected by Portland with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Lillard won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award by unanimous decision. An NBA All-Star in 2014, 2015 and 2018, Lillard is one of six players in franchise history to become a three-time All-Star.

16. Novak Djokovic: $37.6 million

Prize money: $9.6 million
Endorsements: $28 million

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 14 in men’s singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

Djokovic has won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, five ATP Finals titles, 30 Masters 1000 series titles, 12 ATP World Tour 500 tournaments, and has held the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for a total of 223 weeks. In majors, Djokovic has won six Australian Open titles, three Wimbledon titles, two US Open titles and one French Open title. In 2016, he became the eighth player in history to achieve the Career Grand Slam. Following his victory at the 2016 French Open, he became the third man to hold all four major titles at once, the first since Rod Laver in 1969, and the first ever to do so on three different surfaces. Given these achievements, Djokovic is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

17. Tiger Woods: $37.1 million

Prize money: $107,000
Endorsements: $37 million

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975) is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. He has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.

Following an outstanding junior, college, and amateur career, Woods was 20 years old when he turned professional at the end of the summer in 1996. By April 1997, he had already won three PGA tour events in addition to his first major, the 1997 Masters. Woods won this tournament by 12 strokes in a record-breaking performance and pocketed $486,000. He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997, less than a year after turning pro. Throughout the 2000s, Woods was the dominant force in golf. He was the top-ranked golfer in the world from August 1999 to September 2004 (264 weeks) and again from June 2005 to October 2010 (281 weeks).

18. Neymar: $37 million

Salary/bonuses: $15 million
Endorsements: $22 million

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior , commonly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for French club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team.

Neymar came into prominence at an early age at Santos, where he made his professional debut aged 17. He helped the club win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and the 2011 Copa Libertadores, Santos’ first continental title since 1963. Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year, in 2011 and 2012, before relocating to Europe to join Barcelona. As part of Barça’s attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, he won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League in the 2014–15 season, followed the next year by the domestic double. He came third for the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2015. In August 2017, Neymar moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a transaction worth €222 million, making him the world’s most expensive player.

19. Dwyane Wade: $36.2 million

Salary/bonuses: $23.2 million
Endorsements: $13 million

Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. is an American professional basketball player for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association (NBA). After a successful college career at Marquette, Wade was drafted fifth overall in the 2003 NBA draft by Miami. In his third season, Wade led the Heat to their first NBA Championship in franchise history and was named the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wade led the United States men’s basketball team, commonly known as the “Redeem Team”, in scoring, and helped them capture the gold medal. In the 2008–09 season, Wade led the league in scoring and earned his first NBA scoring title. With LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade helped guide Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011 to 2014, winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. After 1½ seasons away from the Heat with the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade was traded back to Miami in February 2018. A 12-time NBA All-Star, Wade is Miami’s all-time leader in points, games, assists and steals, shots made and shots taken.

 

20. Fernando Alonso: $36 million

Salary/bonuses: $34 million
Endorsements: $2 million

Fernando Alonso Díaz About this sound audio (born 29 July 1981) is a Spanish Formula One racing driver and a double World Champion who is currently racing for McLaren F1 team. He is often regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport. He took part in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 and in the 2018 24 Hours of Daytona. He is also a member of Toyota Gazoo Racing and will take part in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the upcoming season and will race in 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans.

21. Jordan Spieth: $34.5 million

Salary/bonuses: $5.5 million
Endorsements: $29 million

Jordan Alexander Spieth is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour and former world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. He is a three-time major winner and the 2015 FedEx Cup champion. In April 2016, Time magazine named Spieth to its list of the “100 Most Influential People”, noting that he “exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.”

22. Derrick Rose: $34.3 million

Salary/bonuses: $21.3 million
Endorsements: $13 million

Derrick Martell Rose (born October 4, 1988) is an American professional basketball player who last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one year of college basketball for the Memphis Tigers before being drafted first overall by his hometown Chicago Bulls in the 2008 NBA draft.[1] After being named the NBA Rookie of the Year, Rose, at age 22, became the youngest player to win the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2011.

 

23. Usain Bolt: $34.2 million

Prize money/appearances: $2.2 million
Endorsements: $32 million

Usain St Leo Bolt OJ CD is a retired Jamaican sprinter. He is the first person to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic time became mandatory. He also holds the world record as a part of the 4 × 100 metres relay. He is the reigning Olympic champion in these three events. Due to his dominance and achievements in sprint competition, he is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time.

 

24. Conor McGregor: $34 million

Purses/bonuses: $27 million
Endorsements: $7 million

Conor Anthony McGregor (born 14 July 1988) is an Irish professional mixed martial artist and boxer.

McGregor is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion and former featherweight champion. McGregor has also competed as a welterweight in mixed martial arts (MMA), and light middleweight in boxing. McGregor is 2nd on the UFC’s pound for pound rankings.

McGregor is the only fighter to be champion in two UFC divisions simultaneously: he defeated former featherweight champion José Aldo at UFC 194 in 13 seconds, which is the fastest UFC title fight victory, and won the UFC lightweight belt against former champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205.

McGregor began his professional boxing career in 2017. In his debut boxing match, he was defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. via technical knockout.

25. Gareth Bale: $34 million

Salary/bonuses: $23 million
Endorsements: $11 million

Gareth Frank Bale (born 16 July 1989) is a Welsh professional footballer who plays as a winger for Spanish club Real Madrid and the Wales national team. Renowned for his ball striking from distance, swerving free kicks, and his ability to get past defenders with pace, Bale has received plaudits from his peers, who have described him as a footballer with “tremendous speed, great crossing ability, a great left foot and exceptional physical qualities”.

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