Cristiano Ronaldo bags Guinness World Record for being highest-paid athlete in 2023

The Portuguese football star took the title from Lionel Messi — here's how much he earned

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Reuters file
Reuters file

Published: Sat 15 Jul 2023, 7:19 PM

Counting the number of times Cristiano Ronaldo has broken world records thoughout his career would be challenging. Now he's back in the books of the Guiness World Records (GWR) — this time for raking in the "highest annual earnings for an athlete in 2023".

"In the 12 months leading up to May 1. 2023 (the date by which most sports seasons are concluded), Ronaldo is estimated to have earned $136 million (£107.5 million)," GWR said, citing data from Forbes.


The Portuguese forward's income consisted of $46 million in on-field earnings and $90 million, the report added.

Earlier this year, after making a sensational switch to Saudi club Al Nassr — he got a bumper contract that "nearly doubled his salary to an estimated $75 million".


Ronaldo took the No. 1 spot from his long-time rival Lionel Messi, who earned $130 million in 2022.

His earnings off the pitch are giving his income a massive boost. "In addition to his lifetime contract with Nike, Ronaldo also makes money through his CR7-branded merchandise," according to GWR.

The calculations, however, do not include any dividends from investment income, "but they do account for payouts from equity stakes which athletes have sold".

The second highest-paid athlete is Messi with $130 million ($65-million on-field, and other half off field). The next is also another football star Kylian Mbappé, who earned of $120 million — $100 million of which come from on-field income.

"LeBron James in fourth place with $119 million ($44.5 M on-court earnings; $75 M off-court), set a record for the highest annual earnings for a basketball player in 2023, whilst fifth-placed Canelo Alvarez set a record for the highest annual earnings for a boxer in 2023 with $110 million ($100 M in-ring earnings; $10 M outside)," the report added.

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