Ronaldo ranks above Messi as Forbes names highest paid athletes in 2024

Ronaldo ranks above Messi as Forbes names highest paid athletes in 2024

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has again been ranked the highest-paid athlete for the fourth consecutive time in his football career by Forbes
  • The Portugues is ranked above his Argentine peer, Lionel Messi, who was ranked the third highest-paid athlete in the world by Forbes
  • Forbes magazine noted that the list was meant for athletes who earned $100 million and above, both on and off the field

Cristiano Ronaldo has been ranked the highest-paid athlete in the world, above Lionel Messi. The Portuguese star topped the list of the 2024 Forbes highest-paid athletes.

According to Forbes' report on Thursday, May 16, Ronaldo earned $200 million on the field and $60 million in off-field earnings last year.

Forbes names Cristiano Ronaldo highest-paid athlete in the world ahead of Lionel Messi
Top 10 highest-paid athletes in the world Photo credit: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm occupied the second position on Forbes' list. This happened after his sensational switch to LIV Golf, which Saudi Arabia backed.

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Messi ranks 3rd in Forbes' highest-paid players

Lionel Messi of Inter Miami occupied the third position on the list. Messi's move to the Major Soccer League (MLS) earned him $135 million.

According to Forbes, the 36-year-old Argentine has earned $65 million on-field while his earnings on off-field amount to $70 million. This was because of his deal with big brands like Adidas and Apple.

On the fourth position on the list is Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. He is followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo ($111 million), an NBA star with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Forbe's top 10 highest-paid athletes

Below is the list of the top ten highest-paid athletes according to Forbes:

S/NNameNationalityAgeSport Earnings
1Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal39Soccer$260M
2Jon RahmSpain29Golf$218M
3Lionel MessiArgentina36Soccer$135M
4LeBron James: NationalityUnited States39Basketball$128.2M
5Giannis AntetokounmpoGreece29Basketball$111M
6Kylian Mbappé France25Soccer$110M
8Karim BenzemaFrance36Soccer$106M
9Stephen CurryUnited States36Basketball$102M
10Lamar JacksonUnited StatesFootball$100.5M

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Osimhen ranks above Ronaldo earlier reported that Victor Osimhen and Boniface ranked above Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski in Rio Ferdinand's world-best 12 players.

The ex-football star list included eight Premier League players, particularly Manchester City and Liverpool.

Ferdinand's list followed SPORTbible's latest ranking, which named Osimhen and Boniface among the best strikers in the world.

Proofreading by James Ojo Adakole, journalist and copy editor at


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Bada Yusuf (Politics and Current Affairs Editor) Yusuf Amoo Bada is an accomplished politics and current affairs editor, boasting over 7 years of experience in journalism and writing. He is a graduate of OAU, and holds Diploma in Mass Comm. and BA in Literature in English. He has obtained certificates in Leadership and received the "Certificate for Breakthrough of the Year 2022" in recognition of his great performance during his first year at Worked as Editor with OperaNews. Contact: or call 08161717844

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