Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes In 2021 – [Latest Update]

The 100 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021 earned a total of $4.2 billion. The world of sports has historically been one of the sectors that best remunerates its members, figures such as soccer player Lionel Messi, American football player Tom Brady and basketball player LeBron James have managed to amass huge fortunes throughout their careers, for Therefore, below we will show you the top 10 highest paid athletes in 2021.

It is no secret to anyone that the current Covid-19 pandemic drastically reduced sporting events around the world, it was public and notorious to observe completely empty stadiums and sports plazas, however, some athletes continued to fatten their already bulky bank accounts.

In this sense, many athletes completed a record year in their income, and in fact, both the footballer and the highest paid NFL player of all time made a good part of their fortunes last year, mainly due to advertising contracts and sponsorships by private companies.

Historical Earnings Records

The top ten highest paid athletes in 2021 made gross earnings close to $1.05 billion in a single year, increasing their income by 28% when compared to the previous year. Conor McGregor alone managed to raise $150 million from the sale of his equity stake in the Proper Twelve whiskey brand.

Other athletes like Dak Prescott, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi took home fortunes in excess of $100 million; in the case of Prescott, his income was increased thanks to a $66 million bonus awarded by his team the Dallas Cowboys.

NBA player LeBron James also broke a record by becoming the highest paid athlete in the professional basketball league with $96.5 million. In addition to this, the cumulative earnings of the top 10 off-court athletes exceeded $512 million, almost $100 million more than the previous year.

The 10 Highest Paid Athletes In 2021

The following information was obtained from Forbes magazine, who categorized the athletes based on the cash income, salaries and bonuses obtained by the athletes during the period between May 2020 and May 2021.

On the other hand, off-court earnings represent estimates based on endorsements, licenses, appearance fees, and cash collected from any other business that occurred during the past 12 months.

Here are the 10 highest paid athletes in 2021:

10. Kevin Durant

2021 Earnings: $ 75 million.
Sport: Basketball.
Country: United States.

Kevin Durant is an NBA Player who belongs to the Brooklyn Nets team. Throughout his history he has been an NBA champion, world champion and Olympic gold medalist, and is currently considered one of the best basketball players in the world.

Off the court, Kevin Durant has ventured into several businesses such as the venture capital firm Thirty Five Ventures which has achieved an investment portfolio in more than 60 companies, standing out among them, Lime, The Players Tribune, Robinhood, Postmates and Coinbase.

9. Tom Brady

2021 Earnings: $76 million.
Sport: American Football.
Country: United States.

Tom Brady is an American football player who belongs to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Brady has been the most valuable player in the professional league three times, owns seven Super Bowl championship rings, and is considered by many to be the greatest football player in all of history.

Some of the companies that sponsor this brand new player are Under Armor, Aston Martin, IWC Schaffhausen, Molecule, UGG and Foot Locker Inc. Apart from this, Tom Brady has his own brand called TB12 focused on the creation of nutrition plans and training for high performance athletes.

8. Lewis Hamilton

2021 Earnings: $82 million.
Sport: Formula 1 driver.
Country: UK.

Lewis Hamilton is a British-born Formula 1 driver. He has been world champion seven times with the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz teams, setting numerous records throughout his sports career.

The sponsorship turnover of this pilot exceeds $20 million and includes brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, Puma, Bose, L’Oréal, Mercedes-Benz, Police, Sony, LG and Vodafone.

7. Roger Federer

2021 Earnings: $90 million.
Sport: Tennis.
Country: Switzerland.

Roger Federer is a professional tennis player of Swiss origin, and he is the winner of 20 titles in international tournaments organized by the International Tennis Federation, reaching the first place for several consecutive years.

This prolific tennis player has obtained large sponsorships from companies such as Nike, Rolex, Moët & Chandon, Mercedes-Benz, Wilson, Gillette, Sunrise, Credit Suisse, Lindt and NetJets, in addition to this he owns his own sportswear brand called On Running.

6. Neymar

2021 Earnings: $95 million.
Sport: Soccer.
Country: Brazil.

Neymar is a Brazilian soccer player and is the current forward for the Paris Saint-Germain team of the French League. Throughout his professional career he has stood out as one of the best soccer players in the world, receiving important decorations such as the golden boot and the Olympic gold medal.

This player obtains a significant sum of money thanks to his sponsors among which are: Nike, Qatar National Bank, Beats by Dre, Red Bull, McDonald’s, Gillette, Honda, Puma, Mastercard, Panini, Air Jordan and Matel.

5. LeBron James

2021 Earnings: $96.5 million.
Sport: Basketball.
Country: United States.

LeBron James is a successful basketball player belonging to the Los Angeles Laker NBA team and is currently considered one of the best basketball player of all time. LeBron is also known for his great business sense making significant investments in the Boston Red Sox teams and Liverpool FC.

In addition to this, he owns his own film company called SpringHill Entertainment, the media company Uninterrupted, the food chain Blaze Pizza, and the sports nutrition company Ladder.

4. Dak Prescott

2021 Earnings: $107.5 million.
Sport: American Football.
Country: United States.

Dak Prescott is a player in the Professional American Football League, he belongs to the Dallas Cowboys team where he plays as a quarterback. Throughout his career he has broken several NFL records and has managed to lead his team to first place in the national championship for several years.

This brand new player has a sponsorship portfolio that includes large companies such as DirecTV, Sleep Number, Pepsi and Seven Eleven. In addition to this, Prescott has announced that it will make significant investments in the Walk-On’s restaurant chain.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

2021 Earnings: $120 million.
Sport: Soccer.
Country: Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo is a soccer player who currently belongs to the Juventus team of the Italian league. He is considered one of the most complete players and scorers in the history of football, obtaining important awards throughout his fruitful sports career.

Apart from playing, Cristiano Ronaldo is distinguished by his passion for business, standing out among them the Pestana CR7 Hotels, clothing and footwear lines, gyms, video games, as well as important capital investments in prestigious world-class companies, such as For example, Bayer, Apple, Volkswagen, Daimler Benz, Carrefour, Iberdrola, Telefónica, Adidas, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Pemex and Johnson & Johnson.

2. Lionel Messi

2021 Earnings: $130 million.
Sport: Soccer.
Country: Argentina.

Lionel Messi is a soccer player of Argentine origin, he currently plays with the FC Barcelona team and has been listed as one of the best players of all time, receiving important awards throughout his history, such as the soccer ball, Gold, Golden Boots, FIFA World Player, Laureus World Sports and The Best FIFA.

Apart from signing with the Barcelona Futbol Club team, Lionel Messi has important sponsorship contracts for a large number of companies, including Nike, Rakuten, Beko, Adidas, Huawei, Mengnui Group, Pepsi, Lay’s, Gatorade and Konami.

Read Also: The 10 Richest Olympians In The World

1. Conor McGregor

2021 Earnings: $180 million.
Sport: UFC Combat.
Country: Ireland.

Conor McGregor is a fighter specializing in mixed martial arts and has been a multiple UFC league champion in the featherweight and lightweight categories. Despite receiving significant sums of money for his fights, his main source of income is the business and sponsorships of different companies including DraftKings, Roots of Fight, Dystopia and Proper Twelve whiskey.

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