Ronaldo becomes highest-paid athlete after Saudi move

Lui Zacher
May 2, 2023 / 10:04 pm

Ronaldo becomes highest paid athlete after Saudi move

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the world’s highest-paid athlete following his move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr, nearly doubling his annual playing salary.

Paris St Germain duo Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe round off the top three sports earners, according to Forbes.

The Portuguese was third last year behind Messi and NBA great LeBron James.

Ronaldo, who joined the Saudi soccer club on a deal until 2025 after leaving Manchester United last year, earned $US136m ($A200m) with Forbes saying his annual playing salary went up to an estimated $A110m.

Ronaldo’s contract has been estimated by media to be worth more than $A330m.

PSG forward Messi, 35, was next on the list after bringing home a combined $A195m) while club team mate and France captain Mbappe — the youngest on the list at 24 — earned $A180m to sit third.

PSG are owned by Qatar Sports Investments.

Los Angeles Lakers player James ($A180m) and Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez $A165m) rounded out the top five.

Last year also saw the advent of LIV Golf, the breakaway tour that has lured away some of the US-based PGA Tour’s top players with huge sums of money, and two of its golfers make the top 10.

Former world number one Dustin Johnson (sixth with $A160m) made the biggest gain after making the controversial switch to LIV Golf having not even made the cut for the top 50 in 2022 while he was joined by fellow LIV golfer Phil Mickelson.

Four-times NBA champion Stephen Curry and Phoenix Suns’ Kevin Durant are the other two basketball players on the list.

Former tennis ace Roger Federer is the only retired player in the top 10.

Forbes said its on-field earnings figures include all prize money, salaries and bonuses earned in the last 12 months while off-field earnings are an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees, licensing income and cash returns from businesses they operate.


AAP (C) 2023 

Moving to the Saudi Pro League has made Cristiano Ronaldo (c) the world’s highest-paid athlete. (EPA PHOTO)