Who Are 2018s Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes In the World?It takes 10,000 hours and blood, sweat and tears to make it as an elite athlete in the big leagues. Through a rare combination of training, raw ability, determination, timing and a bit of luck, only a few individuals on Earth make it.However, even fewer athletes make it to the top of their leagues, meaning just a handful get paid the huge sums of cash that amateurs around the world dream of. Its a path that very few people will ever find themselves. In celebration of the successes of these all-stars, its worth taking a look at the athletes who are currently the most paid in the world.
Floyd Mayweather - $285 Million
An undefeated 50-0 record and huge wins against opponents such as Manny Pacquiao, Andre Berto and Conor McGregor have pushed Floyd Pretty Boy Mayweather to top of the highest paid athletes list. His other nickname, Money, suits him perfectly considering that the retired champion has a net worth in the range of $700 million to nearly $1 billion.He earned a whopping $275 million for his 36-minute knockout win against the swaggering Conor McGregor. He also collected an additional $10 million in endorsements, bringing his earnings for the first half of 2018 to $285 million.
Lionel Messi - $111 Million
Destined for greatness, Lionel Messi has dazzled spectators with his speed and dribbling from his single digit years in Argentina to his current post as a striker for FC Barcelona. His abilities on the field have garnered the 33-time trophy winner earnings of $111 million in the first half of 2018. He earns $84 million from his salary and bonuses alone.He rakes in an additional $27 million from endorsements from various sponsors including Gatorade, Pepsi, Ooredoo, Huawei and Hawkers. Messi may continue to hold his place on this list for a while, as his contract with Barcelona extends to the 2020-21 season.
Cristiano Ronaldo - $108 Million
CR7 is Portugals golden boy and bears the title of the worlds greatest football player. His mile-long list of accomplishments includes most goals scored in the top five European leagues (658), 26 trophies and 5 FIFA Ballon dOr awards. And his formidable talent has no doubt translated into formidable success.Ronaldo earned $108 million in the first half of 2018, $61 million coming from his salary and bonuses, and the remaining $47 million coming from his endorsements. With a lifetime contract from Nike, endorsements from the biggest brands on the planet, and his new $100 million deal with Juventus, Ronaldo is on track to be a billionaire athlete.
Conor McGregor - $99 Million
Hes loud, hes cocky and hes rich. Love him or hate him, Conor McGregors impressive 21-3-0 record in the UFC set him up for major financial success. He made a name for himself in the octagon, and that no doubt brought him serious riches.However, the bulk of his money came from his knockout loss to undefeated champ, Floyd Mayweather. McGregor pulled in $85 million this year, with an additional $14 million coming from endorsements. If theres a lesson to be learned here, its that in the world of big-name sports, losing can still be a win-win situation.
Neymar - $90 Million
At just 26 years old, Neymar has catapulted himself to becoming one of the worlds highest-paid athletes. You can dislike him for his on-field antics (namely, his diving), but his scoring ability is undeniable. His skills have brought him big bucks and 2018 is becoming a showcase of that - he has raked in $90 million in the first six months of the year.$71 million of those earnings came from his salary and bonuses, and the remaining $19 million came from endorsements. His move to Paris-Saint Germain has definitely boosted his bank account (a five-year, $600 million contract) as well as many endorsements which include the likes of Nike, Beats by Dre and Red Bull.
LeBron James - $85.5 Million
King James is no stranger to big stacks of cash - remember the $90 million contract Nike offered him right out of high school? The floodgates have only opened wider for LeBron over the years thanks to his ever-growing freak-of-nature-athleticism, unshakeable IQ, record-breaking court skills and of course, his three rings. In the first half of 2018, the new Los Angeles Lakerearned a solid $85.5 million. His salary and bonuses amounted to $33.5 million while his endorsements eclipsed that number with a total of $52 million.With a new four-year $153.3 million contract, a lifetime Nike deal and endorsements from the likes of Coca-Cola (Sprite), Kia Motor and Blaze Pizza, James stands among the handful of athletes with a shot at reaching billionaire status.
Roger Federer - $77.2 Million
The oldest active player on this list, Federer seems to be having some sort of second wind. At age 37, Federer has returned to his peak form, crushing it with his smooth yet dazzling backhand. He enjoyed a brief return to the #1 spot of the ATPs rankings for the worlds top tennis players and now sits at the second spot behind rival, Rafael Nadal.Federers longevity and ability, which have already granted him legendary status, helped him to pull in $77.2 million in the first half of 2018. Only $12.2 million of that came from his actual prize earnings, but endorsements from household names including Mercedes, Rolex, Lindt and more filled his pockets with a generous $65 million. The day will come when Federer has to put the racket down, but until then, hell definitely serve himself well with these big endorsement deals.
Stephen Curry - $76.9 Million
With his half-court sinkers and impossible buzzer-beaters, its no surprise that Steph Curry has been considered the best shooter in the NBA. The Golden State Warriorhas outdone himself on various occasions by breaking multiple three-point shooting records.With that said, his earnings for the first half of 2018 have amounted to $76.9 million. From that total, $34.9 million came from his salary and bonuses with the Warriors, and the remaining $42 million from his endorsements from big brands like Under Armour, Chase and Nissan/Infiniti. Now 30 years-old, Curry is a mid-career player and still has many seasons ahead of him where he can put more numbers on the board.
Matt Ryan - $67.3 Million
Matt Ryans career stats have cemented him as a franchise QB. At the beginning of the year, Ryan surpassed 40,000 career passing yards. Some of his other numbers include 260 touchdown passes and 4,944 single-season passing yards. The Atlanta Falcons abilities as a quarterback are undeniable, and theyve paid off for him in full.He earned $67.3 million this year, with $62.3 million of his earnings coming from his salary and bonuses. The remaining $5 million came from endorsements thanks to brands such as IBM, Banana Republic and Delta Airlines. Ryans financial rainmaking will no doubt continue now that hes the first NFL player to secure a $30 million per year until 2023.
Matthew Stafford - $59.5 Million
All the talk about Matthew Stafford not yet reaching elite status hasnt chipped away at his rising skill level and bank account. Sure, hes got his critics who wont put him in their top five lists (just yet), but hes undoubtedly a talented QB with lots of fuel in the tank. His numbers show it too. Hes one of just five quarterbacks in NFL history to surpass 5,000 yards in a single season, and hes very likely going to put up 400+ passing touchdowns.As for earnings, the Detroit Lion earned a cool $59.5 million in the first half of 2018. His salary and bonuses amounted to $57.5 million, while his endorsements brought in just $2 million from Ford Motor, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and St. Joes Hospital.
The Highest Paid Athletes Are Building Empires
The journey to fame and fortune is a long and gruelling one that only a few athletes ever complete. But for those who make it, the financial rewards are nothing short of opulent. Its easy to say things such as like athletes are overpaid, and some no doubt are, but the ones listed above didnt get to where they are by playing the lottery.It was their talent, work ethic, dedication and persistence that took them to the big leagues.