Conor McGregor beats Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to become highest-paid athlete / sportsman in the world for first time
Athletes give everything they’ve got toward winning in their sport. Not all of them are worth much at all by the end of their careers due to poor financial knowledge. Like Mike Tyson, who we all know earned around $685 million in his boxing career and is now worth only $3 million. Or his nemesis, Evander Holyfield, who earned approximately $560 million but has a fraction of a fraction of that amount today. For some athletes though, these stories serve as a lesson and financial knowledge is sought and sound investments made. For these rich athletes, chances are things are going to stay that way as they emerge as some of the wealthiest people on the planet, not just in sports.
The Forbes official list of the highest-paid athletes is upon us. And this year, we’ve got a list full of huge paydays for athletes both on and off the playing field. The global corona virus pandemic wasn’t enough to stifle these competitors, with a notable increase in off-the-field sponsorship deals across the board. However, none earned more outside of the spotlight than UFC/ MMA fighter, Connor McGregor who’s recent sale of Proper No. Twelve for $158 million made up a significant part of his $180 million overall earning. He also becomes only the third athlete after Roger Federer and Tiger Woods to earn more than $70 million off the field in a year while actively competing.
Here’s the Forbes list of the 10 Highest-Paid Athletes for 2021.
1. Conor McGregor – US$180 Million
Even though he got knocked out by Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 back in January 2021, Connor still pocketed a whopping $22 million from the fight. Combine with the sale of his Proper No. Twelve whisky brand in the range of $150 million and Connor McGregor is eventually the highest-paid athlete of 2021.
2. Lionel Messi – US$130 Million
Lionel upset the entire fanbase of FC Barcelona last year with his failed attempt to leave the club. Later exposing contract dealings which lead to the leaking of remuneration details to the tune of $674 million according to Forbes.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo – US$120 Million
Cristiano Ronaldo made history when he became the first person to reach a combined 500 million followers across his social accounts.
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4. Dak Prescott – US$107.5 Million
Backed by his gigantic signing bonus of $66 million, NFL quarterback Dak Prescott secured a four-year $160 million contract extension with the most valuable sports team in the world, the Dallas Cowboys which pushed him into the $100-million club.
5. Lebron James – US$96.5 Million
After securing his fourth championship in the bubble, King James (The Kid from Akron) isn’t slowing down, debuting as a Hollywood leading man with the July release of Space Jam: A New Legacy.
6. Neymar Jr – US$95 Million
Neymar has a total of 282 million followers on social media and he is the 3rd most followed athlete on social media. After announcing the early exit of his contract with Nike’s Jordan Brand, he inked a massive contract with Puma with a signature version of its King shoes.
7. Roger Federer – US$90 Million
A knee injury still could not stop Roger Federer from raking in the bills. According to Forbes, he made nearly all of his $90 million in earnings from sponsorships with brands like Rolex, Credit Suisse and Uniqlo.
8. Lewis Hamilton – US$82 Million
Lewis raced to his sixth Formula 1 championship in seven seasons in 2020. For the second time, Lewis Hamilton lands on this list after his 2020 historical success. Netting $82 million backed by 11 race wins which netted him healthy bonus payments.
9. Tom Brady – US$76 Million
The 43-year-old doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon even after capping off an unbelievable season with a Lombardi trophy. According to Forbes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback added endorsement deals with eyewear maker Christopher Cloos and apparel juggernaut Fanatics to his wealth, when he collected big bucks as a speaker on the virtual circuit and as a commercial pitchman.
10. Kevin Durant – US$75 Million
After suffering an Achilles injury that put him on the Brooklyn Nets’ bench for the 2019-2020 season, Kevin Durant wasn’t going to let anything stop him on his way to the second position on this list amongst basketball players. The slim reaper (like he is funly called and he hates it) made a whopping $44 million off the court this year, with his media company Thirty-Five Ventures.
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