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For the fourth time running, Cristiano Ronaldo has clinched the top spot on Forbes’ coveted list of the globe’s highest-earning athletes. Despite entering the latter stages of his illustrious career, Ronaldo continues to dominate the financial realm of sports, thanks in large part to his substantial contract with Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Forbes’ latest rankings, unveiled on Thursday, reveal Ronaldo’s staggering earnings of $260 million over the past year. This impressive sum comprises a substantial $200 million from his contract with Al-Nassr, complemented by an additional $60 million accrued from various off-field endeavors.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

At 39, Ronaldo maintains his lead atop the list, surpassing competitors like golfer Jon Rahm, who inked a lucrative three-year deal with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour in December, and fellow footballer Lionel Messi, currently playing for Inter Miami.

Ronaldo’s arrival at Al-Nassr in January 2023 marked a significant milestone, and his impact has been profound. This season, Al-Nassr is poised to secure a commendable second-place finish in the Saudi Pro League, trailing only behind Al-Hilal.

The latest Forbes report also highlights a historic milestone, with each athlete in the top 10 crossing the $100 million mark in earnings, collectively amassing a staggering $1.38 billion.

Among the top 10 earners are NBA luminaries LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Steph Curry, alongside football icons Neymar, Karim Benzema—both of whom ply their trade for Saudi clubs—and Kylian Mbappé.

In a noteworthy development, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson emerges as the highest-earning NFL player, securing the tenth spot on the list.

However, this year’s rankings underscore a notable absence, with no female athletes making the top 50—a departure from the trend observed since 2019. Over the past decade, only Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Li Na, and Naomi Osaka have graced this exclusive list.

Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Forbes’ Top 10 Highest-Paid Athletes in 2024:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer) – $260 million

2. Jon Rahm (golf) – $218 million

3. Lionel Messi (soccer) – $135 million

4. LeBron James (basketball) – $128.2 million

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (basketball) – $111 million

6. Kylian Mbappé (soccer) – $110 million

7. Neymar (soccer) – $108 million

8. Karim Benzema (soccer) – $106 million

9. Steph Curry (basketball) – $102 million

10. Lamar Jackson (football) – $100.5 million

Photo credit: Getty Images via Forbes

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