Conor McGregor
Highest paid athletes in the world

Forbes has released its latest list of the highest paid athletes in the world for 2021, The top earners in the sports industry based are evaluated by their earnings derived from prize money, salaries, bonuses and endorsements during the past 12 months.

Although the pandemic has caused havoc on sport with lots of major events being cancelled or postponed, the report reveals that the ten highest-paid athletes had taken home pretax gross earnings of US$1.05 billion over the last year, which is 28 per cent more than 2020’s top earners.

Well this year, MMA fighter Conor McGregor tops the list of highest paid athletes in the world with a whooping earning of US$180 million, Edging past the two football legend, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here is a list of the highest paid athletes in the world for 2021

1. Conor McGregor

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Conor McGregor

With a total earning of US$180 million, with this it make him the highest paid athlete in the world for 2021, Of that total, $22 million came from his one fight over the past year, a January loss to Dustin Poirier via second-round TKO. That gave McGregor as many losses as wins in his past six UFC bouts, dating back to March 2016.

Earning ratio: US$22 million (on the field), US$158 million (off the field) 

He is also a whiskey entrepreneur has recently paid off in a big way. He was able to sell his stake in the company that produces bottles of Proper No. Twelve as part of a $150 million deal in March.

NameCountrySportsSalary
Conor McGregorIrelandMMA$180 million

2. Lionel Messi

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Lionel Messi

Well with US$130 million in salary and endorsements over the past 12 months, he is highest paid footballer in the world. Lionel Messi first joined forces with Adidas began back in 2006.

Earning ratio: US$97 million (on the field), US$33 million (off the field)

In February 2017, this relationship turned into a lifelong commitment when Messi signed a lifetime deal with the brand. As per media reports, the deal fetches Messi £18 million every year. he has a sponsorship deal with Pepsi.

NameCountrySportsSalary
Lionel MessiArgentinaSoccer$130 million

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo With US$120 million in salary and endorsement making him one of the highest paid footballer in the world in the world. More than 40% of that income $50 million was from endorsement deals with companies like Tag HeuerClear Haircare, and Nike.

Earning ratio: US$70 million (on the field); US$50 million (off the field)

NameCountrySportsSalary
Cristiano RonaldoPortugalSoccer$120 million

4. Dak Prescott

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Dak Prescott

Dakota Prescott is an American football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League.

Earning ratio: US$97.5 million (on the field), US$10 million (off the field) 

With US$107.5 million in salary makes him highest paid athlete in NFL. Some of the brands he endorses include AT&T, Adidas, Beats by Dre, Campbell’s Chunky Soup, Direct TV, 7-Eleven, New Era, Sleep Number, Oikos, Pepsi and Citibank.

NameCountrySportsSalary
Dak PrescottUSAAmerican Football$107.5 million

5. Lebron James

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Lebron James

LeBron James is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association. Widely considered one of the greatest NBA players in history.

Earning ratio: US$31.5 million (on the field), US$65 million (off the field) 

With US$96.5 million in salary he is the highest paid basketball player in the world. He is also one of the highest paid athletes when it comes to endorsements. He earns more than any other NBA player from highly lucrative endorsements deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Samsung, etc. His 70% of the earning are form the endorsement.

NameCountrySportsSalary
LeBron JamesUSABasketball$96.5 million

6. Neymar Jr.

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Neymar Jr.

Neymar Jr. With US$95 million in salary and endorsement he is one of the highest paid footballer in the world. Neymar signed with Puma last September. The deal is valued by Forbes at €25 million per year, making it the biggest individual sports sponsorship contract in history.

Earning ratio: US$76 million (on the field); US$19 million (off the field)

NameCountrySportsSalary
Neymar Jr.BrazilSoccer$95 million

7. Roger Federer

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Roger Federer

Roger Federer is a Swiss professional tennis player. He has won 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, an all-time record shared with Rafael Nadal.

Earning ratio: US$30,000 (on the field); US$90 million (off the field) 

He is also one of the highest paid athletes when it comes to endorsements. Rolex is one of Roger Federer’s oldest endorsers. Rolex struck an endorsement deal with Federer worth a reported $15 million. He also has tie-ups with major companies such as the Japanese clothing company Uniqlo, Swiss companies like Credit Suisse, Lindt, Sunrise, and Jura Elektroapparate.

NameCountrySportsSalary
Roger FedererSwitzerlandTennis$90 million

8. Lewis Hamilton

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton is a British racing driver. He currently competes in Formula One for Mercedes.

With US$82 million in salary he is the highest paid Formula 1 driver in the world. Hamilton is the most marketable driver in the sport. He added telecom Vodafone to his endorsement portfolio in 2020.

Earning ratio: US$70 million (on the field); US$12 million (off the field)

NameCountrySportsSalary
Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainFormula 1$82 million

9. Tom Brady

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Tom Brady

Tom Brady Jr. is an American professional football player who is a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League. He spent his first 20 seasons with the New England Patriots.

Earning ratio: US$45 million (on the field), US$31 million (off the field)

His total earning for this year was US$76 million, Brady’s current endorsement partners include Under Armour, Molecule Mattresses, Upper Deck, and IWC watches.

NameCountrySportsSalary
Tom Brady Jr.USAAmerican Football$76 million

10. Kevin Durant

Highest Paid Athletes In The World
Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is an American professional basketball player who plays for the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA.

Earning ratio: US$31 million (on the field), US$44 million (off the field)

According to Forbes, his salary and winnings give him earnings of around $31 million. Additionally, he earns around $44 million from his endorsements. Also, he has a major shoe deal with Nike and endorses other major brands like Google and Alaska air group.

NameCountrySportsSalary
Kevin DurantUSABasketball$75 million

It’s not as easy as it looks, money doesn’t come easy, hard work pays.

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