These Are the 5 Highest-Paid Professional Athletes

The much- anticipated Forbes list of the highest-paid professional athletes, entertainers and business leaders is out for 2020. It is the single list that most people rely on to learn about the real figures the richest folks in the world are raking in.  

We’re going to look at the highest-paid athletes in particular. The rankings in the list are based upon the earnings between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020. Those numbers include all money that they earned like salaries, bonuses and brand deals. 


Many athletes have been able to retain their positions on the list from last year. However, there have been quite a few surprises as well. Up next we’re going to talk about the top 5 highest-paid professional athletes in the world. 

These Are the 5 Highest-Paid Professional Athletes

Roger Federer

In what turned out to be a surprise for many, Swiss tennis player Roger Federer became the world’s highest-paid professional sports star for the year 2020 according to Forbes. This is the first time that Federer has reached the number one spot, and is the only tennis player since 1990 to have achieved the feat. 

Federer has won as much as  $130 million in prize money in his entire career so far. However, major credit for Federer’s ace ranking can be attributed to a rich portfolio of brand endorsements and public appearances. 

Take this, for example: In 2018, Federer signed a 10-year deal with the Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo, for a whopping $300 million. This is just one of the many endorsement deals he has. 

Federer has a humanitarian side as well, where he contributes huge sums of his enormous wealth to good causes. The eponymous foundation run by him has educated more than 1.5 million underprivileged children in Africa. 

Roger Federer’s current net worth stands at  $106.3 million. 

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese football player Christiano Ronaldo’s name featuring in the list is no surprise. He has consistently been among the highest-paid players of the world for many years. In fact, his net worth is not far behind the top-ranked Federer. 

However, here’s what is more interesting. Ronaldo joined Juventus in the year 2018 post his much-hyped exit from Real Madrid after a 9-year long association. He took a major pay cut with this switch. 

However, within 24 hours of the reveal, Juventus was able to sell over 520,000 Ronaldo jerseys worth $60 million. This indicates Ronaldo’s popularity and brand value. Fun Fact – Ronaldo is also the most followed athlete on social media. His followers on Instagram reached a massive 200 million in 2020.

Christiano Ronaldo’s current net worth stands at  $105 million.

Lionel Messi 

The Argentinian superstar and record-breaking footballer Lionel Messi is the world’s 3rd highest-paid professional athlete. Currently, he is in a contract with Barcelona which is paying him $80 million for 2020-21 alone. 

But what makes his net worth have a major upsurge is his multi-million-dollar life-long deal with Adidas. He is the face of many other clothing and apparel brands across the world. Recently, Messi took an entrepreneurial plunge when he launched his own clothing line and The Messi Store in 2019. 

The first outlet opened in September 2018 in Barcelona. In March 2020, the WHO roped in Messi to lead its worldwide awareness campaign to control the spread of COVID 19. 

Lionel Messi’s current net worth stands at $104 million.

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior

Brazilian soccer player Neymar recently struck a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain which bagged him a whopping $350 million in salary. In fact, his switch from Barcelona to PSG stands has been regarded as the most expensive switch in the history of football. 

Among many of Neymar’s brand endorsements is Nike’s Jordan Brand which made him its first soccer ambassador in 2016. Fun fact: Neymar is the second most popular athlete on social media with more than 244 million followers in all. 

Neymar’s current net worth stands at $95.5 million.

LeBron James 

Lord James is the 4-times NBA MVP. In his last professional contract, he joined Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 getting paid $153 million for a 4-year stint. At the same time, LeBron has the richest endorsement portfolio of anyone in the NBA

But what has earned LeBron the most is entrepreneurial investments. He owns a production company by the name of SpringHill Entertainment and is also the co-founder of Ladder, a health and wellness company. Even more, LeBron owns some 19 Blaze Pizza franchises in Chicago and South Florida. 

LeBron James’s current net worth stands at $88.2 million.

These Are the 5 Highest-Paid Professional Athletes

The Bottom Line

It may seem these guys are just rolling in easy money, but let’s not forget the fact that they’ve got to be on the road for half the year. That means their life isn’t exactly their own, they’ve got to show up and play hard to keep those dollars coming in before a newbie takes their spot.


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