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Al Nassr standout Cristiano Ronaldo leads Lionel Messi in the latest rankings of the world’s highest-paid athletes, according to reports.

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Annually, Forbes publishes its roundup of the highest-earning athletes, and this year’s top 10 list marks a historic milestone.

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The sports industry is witnessing an unprecedented surge in financial gains, encompassing salaries and sponsorship agreements, benefiting athletes immensely.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s journey has seen significant changes since he first ascended to the position of the world’s highest-paid athlete eight years ago.

Here’s the list of the world’s highest-paid athletes, according to reports from Forbes as cited by Daily Mail:

10. Lamar Jackson: NFL player Lamar Jackson, who inked a new deal with the Baltimore Ravens last year, ranks tenth. His on-field earnings total $98.5 million, with $2 million off the field, amounting to a total of £79 million ($100.5 million).

9. Stephen Curry: Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, renowned as one of basketball’s premier shooters, secures ninth place. His earnings comprise £81 million ($102 million), with over $52 million from on-court endeavors and the rest from off-court agreements, including a sponsorship with Under Armour totaling $50 million.

8. Karim Benzema: Al-Ittihad’s Karim Benzema claims eighth place, with total earnings of £84 million ($106 million). His move to Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia last year significantly contributed to his income, with $100 million from on-field earnings and $6 million off the field.

7. Neymar Jr: Al Hilal’s Neymar ranks seventh, boasting total earnings of ($108 million). His on-field earnings amount to $80 million, with $28 million off the field, derived largely from endorsement deals, such as his personal football boot launch with Puma.

6. Kylian Mbappe: Sixth place goes to Kylian Mbappe, with earnings reaching ($110 million). The PSG star is set to earn $90 million on the field and $20 million off the field, including contracts with Hublot, Oakley, and Nike, with a rumored move to Real Madrid this summer.

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo: NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo ranks fifth, with total earnings of $111 million. The Milwaukee Bucks’ star earns $46 million on the field and $65 million off the field, including revenue from his production firm and upcoming signature shoe release with Nike.

4. LeBron James: LeBron James, a four-time NBA champion, claims fourth place on the Forbes list, with total earnings of ($128.2 million). While earning $48.2 million on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2024, the majority of his income, $80 million, comes from sources outside basketball, including endorsements with Nike and DraftKings.

3. Lionel Messi: Third place goes to Lionel Messi, with earnings totaling ($135 million). His move to Inter Miami last year has opened up commercial opportunities, with $65 million from on-field earnings and $70 million off the field, including upcoming ventures like his sports drink collaboration.

2. Jon Rahm: Spanish golfer Jon Rahm rises to second place on the list, with earnings of ($218 million). Rahm’s on-field earnings amount to $198 million, with $20 million off the field, including a new deal with LIV Golf and earnings from PGA Tour events.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo: Cristiano Ronaldo tops the Forbes list, earning $260 million this year, securing the top spot for the fourth time. His staggering earnings include $200 million on the field with Al-Nassr and $60 million off the field, with endorsements from Nike, Herbalife, and Whoop.

This latest ranking reflects the ever-evolving landscape of sports economics and the remarkable financial achievements of athletes globally.

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