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Arts Forbes 2021: The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes

Forbes 2021: The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes

Forbes 2021: The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes
Find out who made it to Forbes' highest-paid athletes list 2021
By Helen Yu
By Helen Yu
May 14, 2021
Forbes has released its annual rankings of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2021, with MMA fighter Conor McGregor earning the number 1 spot. Find out who else made the top 10 below.

On May 12, 2021, Forbes released its list of the highest-paid athletes in the world for 2021, marking the very top earners in the sports industry based on their earnings derived from prize money, salaries, bonuses and endorsements during the past 12 months (between May 1, 2020 and May, 2021).

Although the pandemic has wreaked havoc on sport with lots of major events being cancelled or postponed, the report reveals that the ten highest-paid athletes had taken home pretax gross earnings of US$1.05 billion over the last year, which is 28 per cent more than 2020’s top earners. 

This year, MMA fighter Conor McGregor tops the list with US$180 million in total earnings, edging past the two football legends Lionel Messi (#2) and Cristiano Ronaldo (#3) who’ve been topping the charts consistently in the past few years. Read on to discover the full list and find out how much do the superstars make.  

See also: 4 Malaysians Join Forbes World's Billionaires 2021 List

1/10 Conor McGregor

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: Ireland

Age: 32

Sport: MMA 

Earning ratio: US$22 million (on the field); US$158 million (off the field) 

Total: US$180 million 

See also: Forbes 30 Under 30: 7 Malaysians Honoured On Latest List

2/10 Lionel Messi

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: Argentina

Age: 33

Sport: Soccer 

Earning ratio: US$97 million (on the field); US$33 million (off the field) 

Total: US$130 million  

3/10 Cristiano Ronaldo

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: Portugal

Age: 36

Sport: Soccer 

Earning ratio: US$70 million (on the field); US$50 million (off the field)

Total: US$120 million 

4/10 Dak Prescott

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: United States

Age: 27

Sport: Football (NFL)

Earning ratio: US$97.5 million (on the field); US$10 million (off the field) 

Total: US$107.5 million 

5/10 LeBron James

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: United States

Age: 36

Sport: Basketball

Earning ratio: US$31.5 million (on the field); US$65 million (off the field) 

Total: US$96.5 million 

6/10 Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: Brazil

Age: 29

Sport: Soccer

Earning ratio: US$76 million (on the field); US$19 million (off the field) 

Total: US$95 million 

7/10 Roger Federer

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: Switzerland 

Age: 39

Sport: Tennis

Earning ratio: US$30,000 (on the field); US$90 million (off the field) 

Total: US$90 million

See also: Louis Vuitton Appoints Naomi Osaka As Its New Brand Ambassador

8/10 Lewis Hamilton

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: United Kingdom 

Age: 36

Sport: Formula 1

Earning ratio: US$70 million (on the field); US$12 million (off the field) 

Total: US$82 million 

See also: Lewis Hamilton Translates His Winning Formula Into An IWC Watch

9/10 Tom Brady

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: United States

Age: 43

Sport: Football (NFL)

Earning ratio: US$45 million (on the field); US$31 million (off the field)

Total: US$76 million 

10/10 Kevin Durant

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Nationality: United States 

Age: 32

Sport: Basketball

Earning ratio: US$31 million (on the field); US$44 million (off the field)

Total: US$75 million  

More on Forbes' highest-paid athletes 2021 list here

See also: Pandelela Rinong Wins First Gold Medal At Diving World Cup

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Arts forbes highest-paid athletes athletes sports conor mcgregor roger federer lionel messi Cristiano Ronaldo

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