The 5 Highest-Paid Sports Superstars Of All Time
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Being a superstar athlete definitely pays. From endorsement deals to signature apparel, player contracts, bets on online sports betting for beginners, and brand connections, athletes get to tap into a lot of opportunities to bank on their popularity. However, not all players get to reach their potential when it comes to earnings.  It takes an immense lot of hard work, an exceptional playing career, natural athletic skill, smart management, and often a tad bit of luck to become a brand all by yourself. Nonetheless, it is impressive to see a few athletes manage to parlay their relatively short careers into colossal fortunes over their lifetimes, so they still get to enjoy paydays even after they step out of the limelight. Sports might be a young man’s game. However, building empires always favor the wizened pros. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Below, let’s take a look at the highest-paid athletes of all time. _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Lionel Messi _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Sport: Soccer _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Age: 33 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Nationality: Argentina _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sponsors: Adidas, Gatorade, Huawei, Mastercard, and Pepsi _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Earning Ratio: $97 million (on the field) + $33 million (off the field) _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Total: $130 million _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Lionel Messi is one of the highest-paid athletes, with a total earning of USD 104 million. The Argentine scored an incredible $97 million salary this year, along with the $32 million in endorsement earnings. Thanks to his massive contract with Barcelona through the 2020-21 season, you can definitely expect to see Messi top this list again next year. _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Cristiano Ronaldo _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Sport: Soccer _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Age: 36 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Nationality: Portugal _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sponsors: Altice, DAZN, Herbalife, MTG, Nike, and Unilever _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Earning Ratio: $70 million (on the field) + $50 million (off the field) _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Total: $120 million _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sensational soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is the runner-up in 2021’s highest-paid athletes' list. With his salary of $60 million, this Juventus player highlights one of the enormous contracts in sports history, despite taking a pay cut worth an estimated $64 million in 2018. To top that off, Ronaldo is also the most followed athlete on social media, which has helped him claim nearly $50 million in endorsements this year. _________________________________________________________________________________________________   LeBron James _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Sport: Basketball   _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Age: 36 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Nationality: United States _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sponsors: 2K Sports, AT&T, Beats, Coca-Cola, KIA Motors, GMC, Nike, RIMOWA, and Walmart _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Earning Ratio: $31.5 million (on the field) + $65 million (off the field) _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Total: $96.5 million _________________________________________________________________________________________________ The iconic basketball player LeBron James has made it his hobby to appear on Forbes’ highest-paid athlete list over the years. The Los Angeles Lakers star was reportedly the highest-earning NBA player back in 2020, bagging a total of $88.2 million. The four-year contract he signed with LA in 2018 offered him $153 million, giving him a healthy amount to play around with. In 2018, LeBron James also launched a health and wellness brand, Ladder, with Cindy Crawford, Lindsay Vonn, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the four-time MVP’s contract is much lower than some of his football counterparts, James makes up for it with an enormous $65 million in endorsements. _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Neymar da Silva Santos Junior _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Sport: Soccer _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Age: 29 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Nationality: Brazil _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sponsors: Beats, DAZN, Electronic Arts, Gillette, Mastercard, Nike, Red Bull, and TCL _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Earning Ratio: $76 million (on the field) + $19 million (off the field) _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Total: $95 million _________________________________________________________________________________________________ With $95 million in earnings, soccer star Neymar makes it into fourth place on the highest-paid athletes' list. His five-year contract with Paris Sanit-Germain that ends in June 2022 is worth a stunning $350 million in salary. Add this to his $25 million worth of endorsements, and there you have one of the highest-earning athletes 2021 has produced. _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Roger Federer _________________________________________________________________________________________________   Sport: Tennis _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Age: 39 _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Nationality: Switzerland _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sponsors: Barilla, Credit Suisse, Rolex, Wilson, Mercedes-Benz, and Uniqlo _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Earning Ratio: $30,000 (on the field) + $90 million (off the field) _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Total: $90 million _________________________________________________________________________________________________ The tennis dynamo from Switzerland claimed the victory in 2020, which earned him a whopping $106 million in pre-tax earnings, allowing him to move past soccer icons and previous top-spot earners like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. What’s more, the Fed-Express earned much of his enormous salary through his brilliant endorsement deals, which has proved to be a common theme among highest-paid athletes with little to no sports on offer. According to Forbes, Federer was the first tennis player to land on the No. 1 spot in 2020, thanks to his deals with Uniqlo, Mercedes-Benz, Credit Suisse, alongside the other ten cheeky endorsements.    

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