1 - Cristiano Ronaldo
Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who now plays for Al-Nassr FC in Saudi Arabia, topped the rank in 2023. Although the athlete had to take a small break in his career, moving from one club to the other, he earned $136 million last year, while his income from professional activities amounted to only $46 million. Cristiano Ronaldo earned the remaining money by doing commercial projects. The footballer has signed advertising contracts with Nike and Louis Vuitton. In addition, he has his brand CR7.
2 - Lionel Messi
Last year's top Argentine footballer Lionel Messi became a runner-up in 2023. Over the past 12 months, the forward of the French Paris Saint-Germain FC has added $130 million to his net worth, just like a year ago. He earned half of this sum on the football field. Meanwhile, commercials brought him the rest of the profit. Currently, Messi cooperates with such companies as Adidas, PepsiCo, and others.
3 - Kylian Mbappe
Messi's teammate Killian Mbappe is third on the list. Over the past year, the PSG striker managed to add $120 million to his net worth, most of which - about $100 million - he earned on the field. Mbappe finished the year 2022 with excellent performances. He scored 56 goals in 56 games, scored 5 hat-tricks, and made 10 double-doubles. The footballer was second only to Erling Haaland in average performance.
4 - LeBron James
In this year's Forbes ranking, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James dropped from second to fourth. The American basketball player added more than $119 million to his fortune over the past 12 months. Most of the athlete's gains came from endorsements, just like last year. L. James actively works with such famous brands as Converse, PepsiCo, Sony, and many others. The athlete also earns from investing in companies that include Blaze Pizza, Beats, and Fenway Sports Partners.
5 - Saul Alvarez
Mexican boxer Saul Alvarez, who fights under the nickname Canelo, holds fifth position in the rank of the highest-paid athletes. He moved from 8th to 5th place and added $110 million to his net worth last year. He earned most of $100 million in the ring. His most lucrative wins were against Russian boxer Dmitry Bivol and Kazakh boxer Gennady Golovkin.
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