Top 10 highest earners in sport as Cristiano Ronaldo nears move to Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo will ‘become the highest-earner in sport with a MAMMOTH £173m-a-year deal with Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr’, dwarfing long-term rival Lionel Messi’s £103.4m in second place and overtaking LeBron James… but who else makes the top 10?

By Will Pickworth For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly sensationally agreed a bumper £173million-a-year contract with Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, which would make him the highest earner in sport.

The 37-year-old had his Manchester United contract terminated earlier this month, following a tumultuous relationship with club chiefs that only worsened when he made a number of controversial statements in a TV interview with Piers Morgan.

And now Ronaldo is said to have agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with Al Nassr – worth an eye-watering £173m-per-year – that will see him play until the age of 40, according to Spanish newspaper outlet Marca.

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly agreed a £173million-a-year deal with Saudi side Al Nassr

If he does complete the move, Ronaldo’s eye-watering salary would make him the highest-earning person in sport, according to Forbes. 

In light of the Ronaldo news, Sportsmail looks at the top 10 highest-earners in all sport assuming the Portuguese superstar does move to Saudi Arabia.

We have followed the official ‘Forbes Highest-Paid Athletes 2022 List’, meaning there is no place for Kylian Mbappe.

However, after signing a bumper new PSG deal in May, the Frenchman is set to earn £107m-per-year so it is expected that he will feature in the list for 2023.

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo – £67.7m per year

Antetokounmpo is the youngest member of this list at the age of 27, and plies his trade for the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Greek-Nigerian basketball player is already one of the most decorated players in NBA history and led the Bucks to their first NBA title since 1971 last year.

A film on Antetokounmpo and his family was released in 2022 – he earns £67.7m per year.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the fourth basketball player to feature in the top 10 highest-earners

9. Tom Brady – £70.2m per year

Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl winner and is still throwing touchdown passes at the age of 45.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback may regret coming out of retirement – given the Bucs’ performances this season – but he is still widely-regarded as the greatest Quarterback of all-time – and earns £70.2m per year. 

Tom Brady (C) is still playing in the NFL, having won the Super Bowl on seven occasions

8. Neymar Jr. – £72.8m per year

The Brazilian is the second PSG player on this list after joining the club for a world record £200m in 2017.

He has torn up European football ever since first joining Barcelona in 2013 and has 115 goals in 164 PSG appearances, while he has netted 75 in 122 for Brazil – Neymar earns £72.8m per year.  

Neymar Jr. is the second PSG player in the top 10, demonstrating the club’s financial capability

7. Canelo Alvarez – £75.3m per year

Canelo has won multiple world titles in four different weight classes from light middleweight to light heavyweight.

He’s won 58 of his 62 fights, with only two losses, while 39 of his wins have come via KO – the Mexican earns £75.3m per year.  

Legendary Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez is a world champion in four different weight classes

6. Roger Federer –  £75.9m per year

The legendary tennis icon announced his retirement in September this year but still features in this list.

Having won the Wimbledon title a record eight times, Federer also spent 237 consecutive weeks ranked at No 1 in the world during his career – Federer earns £75.9m per year. 

Despite announcing his retirement earlier this year, Roger Federer stays in the top 10 for 2022

5. Kevin Durant – £77m per year

A two-time NBA champion, the Brooklyn Jets No 7 is another era-defining basketball player to feature on this list.

Formerly of Golden State Warriors, he’s featured in the NBA All-Star game on 12 occasions despite being only 34. Durant takes home £77m-a-year. 

Kevin Durant is another basketball player to make the list of the 10 top earning athletes

4. Steph Curry – £77.6m per year

A point-guard for the Golden State Warriors, Curry is another basketball all-time great.

He is known as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history and is credited with changing the sport by encouraging teams and players to have more three-point shots.

Slotting in at fourth on the list, Curry earns £77.6m per year.  

Steph Curry slots in in fourth place behind his fellow four-time NBA champion LeBron James 

3. LeBron James –  £101.4m per year

Basketball legends don’t get much bigger than LeBron James, with the 37-year-old having won four NBA titles in his career.

He is the first-ever player to accumulate $1bn in earnings as an active player in the league.

James is also a partner in Fenway Sports Group, meaning he is a part owner in several sporting teams including Liverpool – he earns £101.4m per year.  

Legendary basketball player LeBron James is a four-time champion of the NBA in the US

2. Lionel Messi – £103.4m per year

Widely-regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Lionel Messi has won seven Ballon d’Or titles. 

A four-time Champions League winner, Messi has 799 goals for club and country in 1030 games.

The PSG star earns £103.4m per year meaning he is currently top of the Forbes list, and he will be dwarfed in salary by his old rival Ronaldo.

Ronaldo would also overtake his great rival Lionel Messi by completing the move to Al-Nassr

 1 – Cristiano Ronaldo – £172.9m per year

Cristiano Ronaldo is a legendary footballer who has won 34 trophies in his career. He is also the leading international scorer of all-time with 118 goals. 

If he does complete the move to Saudi side Al Nassr, he will earn £173m a year. 

Ronaldo is currently third on the highest-paid athletes list, earning £83.6m per year, meaning he will more than double his salary. 

If Ronaldo does make the move to Al-Nassr, he will become the highest paid athlete in sport

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