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Who tops the Forbes Rich List for 2024 with an income of £205 million? Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema and Giannis Antetokounmpo are among the 10 highest paid athletes in the world.

Forbes’ annual list of highest-paid athletes is revealed with the story of its top 10.

For the first time ever, all 10 stars earned more than $100 million (£78 million) each, for a total of $1.38 billion (£1.03 billion).

The financial boom in sport knows no bounds in terms of salaries and support – and athletes are the main beneficiaries.

This is immediately exemplified by NFL star Lamar Jackson. The 27-year-old is ranked 10th on the list with £79 million ($100.5 million), thanks to the £57 million signing bonus he received from the Baltimore Ravens after signing a new agreement last year. Once again, he negotiated this as his own agent, meaning no share was given to anyone else.

The ninth place on this list is occupied by the greatest shooter in basketball history: Stephen Curry.

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is the 10th highest-paid athlete of 2024, according to Forbes list

Quarterback Lamar Jackson is the 10th highest-paid athlete of 2024, according to Forbes list

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (right) is ninth, earning £81 million in total in 2024

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (right) is ninth, earning £81 million in total in 2024

The Golden State Warriors point guard’s earnings total £81 million ($102 million). His exploits with the ball earn him just over £41 million, with the rest coming from off-field deals, such as his sponsorship with Under Armour.

Karim Benzema is the first footballer on the list, eighth with £84 million ($106 million). It’s clear to see where the French striker’s income comes from, with his move to Saudi side Al-Ittihad last year being the predominant factor.

The 36-year-old earns £79million playing in the Saudi Pro League, with the remaining difference coming off the pitch.

It’s back-to-back footballers as Neymar (£85m/$108m) sits in seventh place. Like Benzema, he swapped European football for the Middle East and joined Al-Hilal instead. This deal with the club equates to £63 million in earnings for the Brazilian. The rest comes from sponsorship deals which include the launch of its own signature football boot with Puma.

To complete the footballers’ hat-trick, a former teammate of Benzema and Neymar occupies sixth place: Kylian Mbappe (£87m/$110m).

The 25-year-old is leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer, but not before making a staggering £71million on the pitch.

Mbappé – who has deals with Nike, Oakley and Hublot – is expected to join Real Madrid this summer.

Karim Benzema is the first footballer on the list, eighth with £84 million due to his Saudi transfer.

Karim Benzema is the first footballer on the list, eighth with £84 million due to his Saudi transfer.

Neymar is seventh

Kylian Mbappé is sixth

Former Paris Saint-Germain teammates Neymar (left) and Kylian Mbappe are seventh and sixth

NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo is fifth on this list (£88m/$111m) and is the first athlete here to earn more money outside of the sport he plays.

The Milwaukee Bucks cornerstone earns £36million with them this year, while £51million comes from basketball. In January, the “Greek Freak” launched a production company and has a sixth signature shoe with Nike coming later this year.

Antetokounmpo is only surpassed by one other basketball player on this list, namely LeBron James (£101m/$128.2m).

The four-time NBA champion earned £38million with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2024, but the bulk of his income comes from elsewhere.

In addition to his Nike endorsements, James added a deal with DraftKings in January and also invested in PGA Tour Enterprises to expand his portfolio.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is fifth

LeBron James is fourth

Basketball stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) and LeBron James are fifth and fourth on the list

Lionel Messi is third on the list with earnings of £107 million ($135 million). Like Antetokounmpo and James, he earns more from activities other than gambling.

His arrival at Inter Miami in MLS last year put the spotlight on the club, seeing its commercial revenues and opportunities increase. In addition to adidas, Apple and Konami, there are reports that the Argentina captain is also set to launch his own sports drink with the maker of White Claw Hard Seltzer this summer.

Forbes’ biggest player of 2023 is Jon Rahm (£172m/$218m), who is now second on the list – up from 28th 12 months ago.

Rahm shocked the golf world in December when he announced he would join Saudi Arabia-backed revel LIV Golf. The staggering move has already seen the Spaniard pocket £156 million.

As Forbes details; although he has yet to win a LIV event, he has already earned £5.2 million ($6.6 million) from seven tournaments in 2024, which would put him sixth on the money list official PGA Tour this season (starting Monday).

The influence of the Middle East – and more particularly Saudi Arabia – is strong in this list and this is underlined by the man who tops this 10: Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 39-year-old will rake in £205million this year, a figure which sees him top the Forbes list for the fourth time in his career.

Lionel Messi is third on £107m

Jon Rahm is second with a profit of £172m

Lionel Messi (left) is third on £107million, while Jon Rahm is second on £172million.

Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way with £205m in earnings this year - including £157m from Al-Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way with £205m in earnings this year – including £157m from Al-Nassr

TOP 10 HIGHEST PAID ATHLETES OF 2024 ACCORDING TO FORBES

10. Lamar Jackson – £79m

9. Stephen Curry – £81m

8. Karim Benzema – £84m

7. Neymar – £85m

6. Kylian Mbappé – £87 million

5. Giannis Antetokounmpo – £88m

4. LeBron James – £101 million

3. Lionel Messi – £107m

2. Jon Rahm – £172 million

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £205 million

Playing for Al-Nassr earns the Portuguese superstar £157million from his employers. He has rebalanced his investment by scoring 33 goals in 28 matches so far, to move to the top of the goalscoring charts.

The rest of the £48 million is made up by Ronaldo’s astonishing range of off-field deals.

Nike and Herbalife are among these companies and Ronaldo recently joined Whoop as a global ambassador on Monday. Ronaldo’s partnership and investment coincides with Whoop’s announcement expanding its availability to the Gulf Cooperation Council regions – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain – in addition to Hong Kong, Israel, Korea and Taiwan.

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