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The highest-paid athletes of all time have been ranked, Cristiano Ronaldo only fifth

Marcus Chan

| Last updated 

The highest-paid athletes of all time have been ranked, Cristiano Ronaldo only fifth

The highest-paid athlete of all time has been revealed, Cristiano Ronaldo is only fifth.

Over the years, Portuguese legend Ronaldo has been dominating the world of football alongside his old foe, Lionel Messi.

At the start of 2023, Ronaldo decided to walk away from European football as he signed for Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr on what has been reported as a very lucrative contract.



Despite the big money move and the big contracts he was on at the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo is only fifth when it comes to the list of highest-paid athletes of all time.

According to Sportico, the Al Nassr forward has amassed $1.58 billion in inflation-adjusted earnings, which is used to compare the earnings of sports stars, past and present based on current-day value.

Ronaldo just pips Messi, with the Argentine earning a total of $1.48 billion.

Ranking above Ronaldo are legendary golfers Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, who have an inflation-adjusted earning of $1.63 billion and $1.7 billion respectively.

Image Credit: Getty
Image Credit: Getty

Ranked in second place was another legend in the world of golf, Tiger Woods. With an earning of $2.5 billion, he just missed out on the top spot.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top spot belonged to NBA legend Michael Jordan, who has racked up a fortune of $3.3 billion.

After retiring from basketball, Jordan went on to make big money as an entrepreneur.


His brand ‘Air Jordan’, which is in collaboration with sportswear giant Nike, brings in around £1 billion a year in sales.

Here are the top 10 highest-paid athletes of all time:

  1. Michael Jordan - Basketball - $3.3 billion
  2. Tiger Woods - Golf - $2.5 billion
  3. Arnold Palmer - Golf - $1.7 billion
  4. Jack Nicklaus - Golf - $1.63 billion
  5. Cristiano Ronaldo - Football - $1.58 billion
  6. LeBron James - Basketball - $1.53 billion
  7. Lionel Messi - Football - $1.48 billion
  8. Floyd Mayweather - Boxing - $1.41 billion
  9. Roger Federer - Tennis - $1.38 billion
  10. Phil Mickelson - Golf - $1.36 billion

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Cristiano Ronaldo, Football, Tennis, Golf, NBA, Boxing

Marcus Chan
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