Cristiano Ronaldo was the highest-earning athlete in the world in 2023, while Inter Miami star Lionel Messi came third in the list.

Ronaldo signed a lucrative contract with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr last January and earned an incredible £218 million ($275m) over the course of the year. That puts him top of the list of highest-paid athletes, according to Sportico, a massive £57m more than the second highest, golf star Jon Rahm, who earned £161m ($203m).

Messi, who left Paris Saint-Germain for Inter Miami last summer, was the third best-paid athlete for the year, raking in £103m ($130m), just ahead of basketball icon LeBron James (£99.8m/$126m), while Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe rounded off the top five with £99.2m ($125m). Al-Hilal and Brazil attacker Neymar came in just behind Mbappe after making £96m ($121m) in 2023 and the next highest earner in football was Karim Benzema, who made £61m ($77m) and came in 12th in the list.

It is no surprise to see Ronaldo at the top of the list, having signed a two-year deal with Al-Nassr worth a whopping £175m ($221m) per year. The 39-year-old also has a load of lucrative sponsorships with other brands worth around £48m ($60m).

The likes of Ronaldo and Messi stand to have another well-paid year as they continue their contracts with Al-Nassr and Inter Miami, respectively. Ronaldo will hope to fire his team to Saudi Pro League and AFC Champions League success this season, while Messi will look to lead the Florida club into the MLS playoffs in 2024.

Source: Goal