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The World's Highest Paid Athletes List 2023

There are still plenty of athletes earning big bucks. The top earner for 2023 was one of the biggest names in football, Cristiano Ronaldo, with earnings totaling 136 million US dollars. Lionel Messi, who was top of the list last year, was in second place. The only woman on the list was Serena WIlliams who was 49th on the list with $45.3M in earnings.

See also the Forbes top-earning lists from other years.

Below is the top-10 of the highest earning sportspeople for 2023, taken from the annual list of highest-paid athletes published by Forbes magazine in June 2023.

Top-10 Highest Earning Sports people from 2023

Rank Name Sport Nationality Earnings* ($ million) Previous Year
1 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer Portugal 136 3
2 Lionel Messi Soccer Argentina 130 1
3 Kylian Mbappe Soccer France 120 35
4 LeBron James Basketball USA 119.5 2
5 Canelo Alvarez Boxing Mexico 110 8
6 Dustin Johnson Golf USA 107 >50
7 Phil Mickelson Golf USA 106 31
8 Stephen Curry Basketball USA 100.4 5
9 Roger Federer Tennis Switzerland 95.1 7
10 Kevin Durant Basketball USA 89.1 6

* note: The earnings totals (in US dollars) are derived from salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, licensing and endorsement income in the 12 months from May 1, 2022 to May 1, 2023. Taxes or agents' fees are not factored into the figures.

Lionel MessiMessi drops down the list to 2nd

Highest Ranked For Each Sport in 2023

The highest ranked athlete from each sport in the top-50 is listed below. This year eight different sports were represented on the list.

Overall Rank Name Sport earning ($ million)
1 Cristiano Ronaldo Soccer 136
4 LeBron James Basketball 119.5
5 Canelo Alvarez Boxing 110
6 Dustin Johnson Golf 107
9 Roger Federer Tennis 95.1
12 Russell Wilson American Football 85
21 Lewis Hamilton Auto Racing 65
26 Max Scherzer Baseball 55.7

source: The full list of the top-50 highest earners was published on the Forbes website in June 2023.

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Lists Extra

Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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