1 • $136 million- Cristiano Ronaldo
On-Field: $46 million | Off-Field: $90 million | Nationality: Portugal | Sport: Soccer | Age: 38
Ronaldo parted ways with Manchester United in November and joined Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in January,
ratcheting up his annual playing salary to an estimated $75 million and generating additional marketing opportunities in his new home. (Forbes’ on-field estimate blends together his two contracts for this season and accounts for his brief unemployment.)
2 • $130 million- Lionel Messi
On-Field: $65 million | Off-Field: $65 million | Nationality: Argentina | Sport: Soccer | Age: 35
His bank account should be safe regardless. His earnings total matches his big number from the last two editions of the list, and he has a long list of lucrative endorsements, including Adidas, Budweiser and PepsiCo. His deal with Socios, a blockchain-based fan platform, alone pays him an estimated $20 million a year.
3 • $120 million- Kylian Mbappé
On-Field: $100 million | Off-Field: $20 million | Nationality: France | Sport: Soccer | Age: 24
No. 35 on the earnings list last year, Mbappé makes his top ten debut and is the only member still under 30. He has the highest playing salary in all of soccer,
which looks justified after he fell one win shy of a second straight World Cup title with France in 2022 and finished just behind his Paris Saint-Germain teammate Lionel Messi for the Best FIFA Men’s Player Award.
4 • $119.5 million- LeBron James
On-Field: $44.5 million | Off-Field: $75 million | Nationality: U.S. | Sport: Basketball | Age: 38
Today’s top athletes are also successful founders and investors, and perhaps no one embodies that entrepreneurial spirit better than James, who became the first active athlete to be certified a billionaire by Forbes in June.
5 • $110 million- Canelo Álvarez
On-Field: $100 million | Off-Field: $10 million | Nationality: Mexico | Sport: Boxing | Age: 32
Álvarez collects tens of millions of dollars every time he steps in the ring, scoring big with blockbuster fights against Dmitry Bivol and Gennadiy Golovkin over the last 12 months.
6 • $107 million- Dustin Johnson
On-Field: $102 million | Off-Field: $5 million | Nationality: U.S. | Sport: Golf | Age: 38
Johnson was the first star to jump to LIV Golf, last May, and he finished 2022 with a tour-best $35.6 million in prize money, including $18 million for winning the season-long individual championship.
7 • $106 million- Phil Mickelson
On-Field: $104 million | Off-Field: $2 million | Nationality: U.S. | Sport: Golf | Age: 52
Mickelson, who surpassed $1 billion in career pre-tax earnings last year, has shed sponsors since joining LIV Golf, but he is staying busy off the course. He is a cofounder of For Wellness, which makes coffee supplements, and he was among the investors who recently bought a large plot of land outside Phoenix.
8 • $100.4 million- Stephen Curry
On-Field: $48.4 million | Off-Field: $52 million | Nationality: U.S. | Sport: Basketball | Age: 35
Fresh off his fourth NBA championship last June, Curry has his first year topping $100 million. His $48.1 million salary was the NBA’s highest this season, and he’ll become the league’s first $50 million man in 2023-24, when he is set to make $51.9 million.
9 • $95.1 million- Roger Federer
On-Field: $0.1 million | Off-Field: $95 million | Nationality: Switzerland | Sport: Tennis | Age: 41
Federer announced his retirement from competitive tennis in September and hung up his racket after playing one final match alongside Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup, the international team tournament he helped create in 2017.
His list of more than a dozen long-term partners remains intact as he begins his second act, and last week he announced a licensing agreement for his RF brand with eyewear maker Oliver Peoples. He also has a significant stake in the fast-growing Swiss shoe company On.
10 • $89.1 million- Kevin Durant
On-Field: $44.1 million | Off-Field: $45 million | Nationality: U.S. | Sport: Basketball | Age: 34
Durant was traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns in February, but the wheeling and dealing hasn’t been confined to the court.
Through his investing firm, 35V, he has picked up stakes in the Premier Lacrosse League, nutrition brand Happy Viking, League One Volleyball, women’s sports league network Athletes Unlimited, a Major League Pickleball team, Fanatics’ Mitchell & Ness label, digital creator business Goldenset Collective, sports software startup Score Play and Tiger Woods’ TMRW Sports just in the last ten months.