July 15, (THEWILL) – Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed the top spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, earning himself a Guinness World Records title for the highest annual earnings in 2023.
With estimated earnings of $136 million in the 12 months leading up to May 2023, Ronaldo has surpassed his rival Lionel Messi, who held the title in 2022. Ronaldo’s earnings consist of $46 million from his on-field performances and a staggering $90 million from various off-field endeavours, including sponsorship deals and his CR7-branded merchandise. The Portuguese star’s departure from Manchester United earlier this year saw him secure a lucrative contract with Al-Nassr, nearly doubling his salary to approximately $75 million.
Lionel Messi ranks second on the list, with earnings of $130 million. His income is evenly split between on-field earnings and off-field earnings, both amounting to $65 million apiece. Trailing behind Messi is Kylian Mbappé, whose on-field earnings of $100 million heavily contribute to his total income of $120 million. Notably, LeBron James sets a new record for the highest annual earnings by a basketball player in 2023, securing fourth place with $119 million, consisting of $44.5m on-court earnings and $75m off-court earnings.
Canelo Alvarez, a prominent boxer, also achieved a record, earning $110 million in 2023, with $100m earned in the ring and $10m outside it. Retired tennis legends, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, despite their retirement in September 2022, hold the highest annual earnings for male and female tennis players in 2023, respectively. Federer ranks ninth on the overall list with $95.1 million, primarily from off-court earnings, while Serena secures 49th place, accumulating a total of $45.3 million, with the majority derived from off-court earnings.