Top 10 Highest-Paid Athletes In The World – October 2021

Athletes are known globally as one of the few who cash in millions of dollars, year in, year out. Professional athletes are paid so much money since people love and enjoy watching their games. Athletes don't earn forever; however, once they attain a professional level, it takes less than a quarter of that time before their career ends. This, in turn, means that they no longer get paid, except for those who own their personal businesses or are still under an undue endorsement contract.

Athletes earn from their various sports and product or merchandise line, endorsements and sponsorships deals, lifestyle vlogging, and speaking engagements. Many athletes were severely affected by last year's COVID-19 pandemic, as some had to accept salary cuts, and those in control of their own business had setbacks and issues due to the lockdown. Nevertheless, some struggled to keep their spot among the highest-paid athletes globally, hence the need for this article. Here are the Top 10 Highest-Paid Athletes In The World – October 2021.

10). Kevin Durant — Basketball 🏀

American professional basketball player, Kevin Wayne Durant, also known by his initials – KD, is one of basketball's creative and prolific players. He was born and raised in Washington, DC, USA. He plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Brooklyn Nets. Furthermore, he takes his position as a small forward (7) in his team. Moreover, he is a highly talented player and has been referred to as the NBA's best player often by basketball fans.

While in College, Durant won numerous awards yearly and soon became the first freshman named "Naismith College Player of the Year." In his professional career, Durant has won 2 NBA Championships, 2 NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, 2 Finals MVP Awards, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, 4 NBA Scoring Titles, NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and many more awards and honors in his name.

The 11-time NBA All-Star has signed multiple endorsements deals with big companies such as Nike. He's usually active in philanthropic pursuits, even though things weren't rosy for him as a young boy, too. He is 32 years (September 29, 1988) of age.

According to Forbes, Durant is the 10th highest-paid athlete in the world, earning a massive sum of $75 million ($31 million – salary & $44 million – endorsements).

9). Tom Brady — American Football 🏈

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady is a professional American football player. He plays as a quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the National Football League (NFL). Brady is 44 years (August 3, 1977) and is 6 ft 4 inches tall. He was drafted into the NFL in the year 2000.

Brady possesses a highly competitive spirit, work ethic, and intellectual skills. He has appeared in 346 games as a quarterback, winning 264. The football superstar is a 7-time NFL champion (Most ever recorded by a player), 7-time Super Bowl champion, 5-time Super Bowl MVP, and 3-time NFL MVP. He had numerous awards, wins, and honors to his name.

Brady is set to earn $76 million ($45 million – salary & $31 million– endorsement deals) in 2021; hence, he is ranked by Forbes as the 9th highest-paid athlete in 2021.

8). Lewis Hamilton — Car Racing 🏎️

Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton is a famous British Formula One race-car driver. He was born on January 7, 1985 (36 years) in Stevenage, England. He is widely considered to be of the most successful F1 Grand Prix racing drivers of all time. Carl comes from a working-class family and owes his success to car racing.

He is the most successful British driver in history, having won the world championship 7 times. He has appeared in 281 Formula One races and won 99 out of them. He made his first official entry at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix, and his last entry was the 2021 Russian Grand Prix.

In 2020, Hamilton was listed as one of time's 100 most influential people in the world. His current team is the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1. He has a massive fans base outside the car racing sport due to his high-profile lifestyle, music, and fashion exploits. According to Forbes, Lewis Hamilton will earn $82 million ($70 million – winnings & $12 million – endorsements) in 2021, ranking him the 8th highest-paid athlete in the world.

7). Roger Federer — Tennis 🎾

Roger Federer is a Swiss professional tennis player from Basel, Switzerland. He has dual citizenship, with his father being a Swiss and his mother a South African. Federer influenced the tennis sport in the early 21st century with his remarkable all-around game. Born on August 8, 1981, the 40-year-old started playing tennis when he was 8 years old.

He became Switzerland's junior champion at age 14 and became the youngest tennis player at 18 years 4 months, among the world's top 100, ranking at no. 64 that season. He is currently ranked no. 9 at the governing body of men's professional tennis circuits – The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He is 6 ft 1 in tall and became a professional player in 1998.

Federer has won 103 career titles, with a career record of 1251 – 275. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer are collectively referred to as the Big Three due to their incredible domination in tennis since the year 2004 (with Federer coming to prominence first) in terms of tournament victories and rankings.

Roger Federer is a phenomenal and exceptional all-court player whose effortless style has made him very popular in and outside the tennis world.

He is the first-ever tennis player to rank on Forbes – the world's highest-paid list. Federer made an estimated $100 million from endorsement deals alone in 2020. He is to earn $90 million (all from endorsement deals) in 2021.

6). Neymar — Football ⚽

Neymar da Silva Santos Jùnior is a professional football player from Brazil. He currently plays for Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and the Brazil national team. He was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and made his professional debut at a Brazilian sports club – Santos FC.

He is the most expensive player ever in football history after making a transfer to PSG in a move worth £222 million. He is 29 years (February 5, 1992) and takes the position of a left-winger in PSG. He has appeared in 125 PSG matches and scored 91 goals for the club.

Neymar's dribbling skills are unmatched, and some liken it to Ronaldinho's. Experts say his main traits such as passing, vision, creativity, touch, and dribbling are collectively electric and explosive. He is a prolific goal scorer and always tries to perfect his controls and skills on the pitch. He was inspired by Messi, Xavi, Ronaldo, Iniesta, and Rooney.

Forbes ranks Neymar as the 6th highest-paid athlete in the world, with earnings of $95 million ($76 million – salary & $19 million – endorsements).

5). LeBron James — Basketball 🏀

LeBron Raymone James is an American professional basketball player from Ohio, USA. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers in the professional basketball league – National Basketball Association (NBA). James is a power forward, with his position at 6. James has an incredible height of 6 ft 9 in (2.06m). The millionaire athlete was drafted into the NBA in 2003 and played for Cleveland Cavaliers. He is currently 30 years (December 30, 1984) of age, and he's often compared to former legendary NBA player – Michael Jordan as to who's the greatest basketball player.

James was voted Rookie of the Year upon entering the NBA in his debut year. He has amassed massive wealth and fame off the court, from numerous endorsement deals, book features, movies, and TV commercials. It was reported that the 2021 American live-action/animated sports comedy movie – Space Jam: A New Legacy, where James starred as a fictional character of himself, made him millions of dollars more.

He is nicknamed King James by fans. He used to be a part-owner of Liverpool FC, and he's known to be actively involved in philanthropic activities a lot. He became the first NBA player in history to generate $1 billion in earnings as an active player. He's to make $96.5 million ($31.5 million – salary & $65 million – endorsements) this year.
Fun fact: LeBron James has earned a total of $330 million from his salary alone, ever since he was drafted into the NBA in 2003.

4). Dak Prescott — American Football 🏈

Rayne Dakota Prescott is an American football quarterback. He plays for the Dallas Cowboys in the National Football League (NFA). Born on July 29,1993, in Louisiana, USA, and he is currently 28 years old. He was drafted in 2016 by the NFL and signed a 4-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys, who acquired him to develop behind former NFL quarterback and analystTony Romo. 

He later signed another 4-year deal contract extension of $160 million (with a fresh $66 million signing bonus) to the Dallas Cowboys in March 2021. His estimated 2021 earning is $107 million ($97.5 million – salary & $10 million – endorsements).

3). Christiano Ronaldo — Football ⚽


Christiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro is a renowned professional footballer from Portugal. He is nicknamed The GOAT and currently plays as a forward for Premier League clubManchester United. He is often regarded as the world's greatest footballer. Ronaldo has won 5 Ballon d'Or awards and 4 European golden shoes – The most by any European player.

Ronaldo has made over 1,100 professional career appearances, with over 780 goals and 226 assists. He is 36 years (February 5, 1985) and is ranked as one of the fastest footballers (with or without a ball). He's described as a skilled attacker on the pitch who can take down one-on-one opponents with his speed, technical and agility skills.

A remarkable athlete, Cristiano Ronaldo is not just the most famous sportsman on social media, but the most famous person in the world. He has over 500 million followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as of late September 2021. He also has a documentary film about his life and career titled – Ronaldo. CR7 is the first footballer and third sportsman to earn $1 billion in sporting history. He is ranked by Forbes as the 3rd highest-paid athlete in 2021, earning $120 million ($70 million – salary & $50 million – endorsements).

2). Lionel Messi — Football ⚽


Lionel Andrés Messi is a professional footballer from Rosario, Argentina. He is considered one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of sports. He is 34 years (June 24, 1987) and currently plays as a forward in Ligue 1 club, Paris Saint Germain. He started playing football for Grandoli at the age of 5. He moved from Argentina to Spain at age 13, agreeing with FC Barcelona to sponsor his medical treatments.

Messi has an impressive record of winning 6 Ballon d'Or awards and six European golden shoes. He spent his entire professional career in Barcelona until he left the club for Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in 2021. He has the most goals by a player for a single club (due to his extended stay at Barcelona) and has scored over 750 senior career goals for club and country.

Lionel Messi was the world's highest-paid athlete for 5 consecutive years, between 2009–2013. He is the first footballer and team sport athlete to win the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award. In 2020, Messi became the second footballer to surpass $1 billion in career earnings after Christiano Ronaldo.

He is among the top highest-paid athletes in the world, coming in 2nd with an earning of $97 million in salary and $33 million in endorsements. All totaling the staggering sum of $130 million.

1). Conor McGregor —  Martial Arts & Boxing 🥋🥊

Conor Anthony McGregor is a mixed martial artist, boxer, and businessman from the Republic of Ireland. He is 33 years of age and goes by the nickname, Notorious. He was the first fighter in the history of UFC to hold two weight (featherweight & lightweight) titles divisions simultaneously.

He was defeated by legendary professional boxer Floyd Mayweather in his debut (first) professional boxing match in 2017. McGregor is a left-handed fighter, and experts cite his pull-back left-handed counter as his most dangerous strike.

He is well-known for his repeated trash talk on social media and psychological warfare against his opponents. He cites Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee as great inspirations.

McGregor is ranked by Forbes as the No. 1 highest-paid athlete in the world in 2021, reportedly earning a whopping sum of $130 million ($22 million – winnings & $158 million – endorsements).

There you have it, the Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes In The World. 

NOTE
Athletes don't necessarily have to play to get paid (mostly during times of injuries)
★ Most Athletes file for bankruptcy after retirement (due to extravagant lifestyles and lack of planning)
★ Their salary varies from year to year (it's not permanent)
★ Much of their earnings come from endorsement deals, not just from a playing contract.
Alade Habeeb

I am a writer with a sense of creativity to write on multiple topics. I create engaging, thrilling and entertaining contents and I always take the time to edit my work well before publishing. I follow all the latest trends and read about recent happenings in the entertainment industry to always update my readers.

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