Ronaldo, Rahm, Messi, LeBron Headline Forbes' Top 10 Highest-Paid Athletes for 2024 - 3 minutes read

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Five of the 10 highest-paid athletes in the world are soccer players, with Jon Rahm and LeBron James ranking as the top earners among non-soccer stars.

Per Forbes' ranking of the 10 highest-paid athletes in 2024, Cristiano Ronaldo made more money than anyone with earnings of $260 million between his salary with Al Nassr and sponsorship deals.

Here is the full top-10 list:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer): $260 millionJon Rahm (Golf): $218 millionLionel Messi (Soccer): $135 millionLeBron James (NBA): $128.2 millionGiannis Antetokounmpo (NBA): $111 millionKylian Mbappé (Soccer): $110 millionNeymar (Soccer): $108 millionKarim Benzema (Soccer): $106 millionStephen Curry (NBA): $102 millionLamar Jackson (NFL): $100.5 million

The most notable takeaway from the list, particularly the top two, is how much of an impact Saudi Arabia's financial investment in sports is having.

Ronaldo left Manchester United in 2022 to sign with Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League. His deal with Al Nassr was originally reported to be worth $207 million per season, but it was later amended that he was guaranteed $75 million annually with various agreements that could push the total up to $200 million.

The PGA Tour was stunned in December when Rahm signed with LIV on a deal reportedly worth more than $300 million. Forbes estimates his on-field earnings this year to be $198 million.

James, Lionel Messi and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the only athletes on the list whose off-field earnings exceed their on-field earnings. James makes the most money of anyone listed off the field with annual earnings of $80 million thanks in part to a new partnership deal with DraftKings.

The four-time NBA MVP, who is a member of the Fenway Sports Group, was also part of the Strategic Sports Group that made a $3 billion investment in the PGA Tour earlier this year.

Messi's move to MLS has significantly increased the profile of the league and Inter Miami. Forbes estimated the club is now the second-most valuable in MLS with a $1.03 billion evaluation.

After announcing his departure from Paris Saint-Germain last week, Kylian Mbappé is expected to receive a sign-on fee of $162 million when he signs with Real Madrid.

B/R Football Mbappé is set to earn over $16M per year and receive a signing-on fee worth $162M at Real Madrid, reports

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Even though the deal hasn't officially been signed, La Liga president Javier Tebas said this week Mbappé will join Real Madrid this summer.

Neymar is the third athlete signed to a Saudi Arabia club on the list. The Brazilian star signed a two-year deal with Al Hilal in August 2023 that pays him a total of $175 million.

Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson has the highest percentage of his earnings coming from his contract with the Baltimore Ravens. He will make $98.5 million of his $100.5 million on the field, with a large portion of that coming from his $72.5 million signing bonus.

Source: Bleacher Report

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