Forbes has named Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s highest-paid athlete in 2023, ahead of his arch-rival Lionel Messi.

Professional athletes are known for their tasty pay packets, depending on the sport and league they’re in. Oh, and whether they’re male or female, naturally.

Footballers, in particular, are often famously paid a staggering amount for their efforts, which means it will come as no surprise to see there are several named in Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2023.

According to Forbes, the 38-year-old Portuguese star rakes in $46 million/Ksh6.1 million on-field and $90 million/Ksh12.1 billion off-field, totalling a not-too-shabby $136 million/Ksh18.5 billion

He’s followed by Argentinian Lionel Messi, who helped lead his national side to victory in the World Cup last December.

Thanks to ‘a long list of lucrative endorsements’ including Adidas, Budweiser and PepsiCo, Messi has raked in $65m/Ksh8.7 billion off-field this year – a number matched by his on-field action to bring his total earnings to $130 million/Ksh17.6 billion.

Kylian Mbappé is in the third spot with 2023 earnings of $120m/Ksh16.3 billion – the majority of which ($100m/Ksh13.4 billion) comes from the pitch.

Forbes notes that he makes his top 10 debut this year after being number 35 on the list in 2022, and is now the only member still under 30.

The top 10 features basketball players, golfers and one veteran tennis stars, but the three highest-paid are all from the footballing world.

Below is the full list of the top 10 highest-earning sportsmen in 2023:

#1 • $136 million/Ksh18.5 billion Cristiano Ronaldo (Football)

#2 • $130 million/Ksh17.6 billion Lionel Messi (Football)

#3 • $120 million/Ksh16.3 billion Kylian Mbappé (Football)

#4 • $119.5 million/Ksh16.2 billion LeBron James (Basketball)

#5 • $110 million/Ksh14.9 billion Canelo Álvarez (Boxing)

#6 • $107 million/Ksh13.7 billion Dustin Johnson (Golf)

#7 • $106 million/13.69 billion Phil Mickelson (Golf)

#8 • $100.4 million/Ksh13.6 billion Stephen Curry (Basketball)

#9 • $95.1 million/Ksh12.9 billion Roger Federer (Tennis)

#10 • $89.1/Ksh12.1 billion Kevin Durant (Basketball)


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