The world of sports is becoming something of a business empire rather than just a game. True, almost everyone loves to be paid for doing what they love doing but it’s about a tenth of the world’s population that’s paid their real worth for doing what they love doing. Most of the time, you’ll see someone doing something just because they don’t have a choice. But in the real sense of the word, getting paid for doing what you love will require you put in the extra dedication and commitment. It also needs a sheer amount of will and hard work.

The athletes we see today riding around in posh cars and living in almost all the comforts that life can offer are one of those that are paid for doing what they love. What most people fail to realize or acknowledge is the fact that before they got to the peak of their carriers, they have put in a lot of hard work.

As it stands, before you get to the pinnacle of your career, you have to remain consistent, being at the top of your game at all times. Most people will give up before they even get started. Those are the kinds of people who are left in the wake of those who remained consistent. This philosophy is no different in the lives of sportsmen/women.

True, most of them began their careers almost at the same period; some of them always see waking up in the morning and going for road works, hitting the gym every now and then hard work. Those ones quit. Others who never gave up continued until they got to the top.

Some athletes are paid double of what their teammates or contemporaries are paid. This is because they refused to be deterred despite different challenges. They continued even the future seemed bleak; they kept knocking until the door was opened. At the moment, the highest-paid athletes in the sports world are as follows:

#5. Roger Federer

Roger Federer is a Swiss professional tennis player who is ranked as the world’s number 3 in Men’s Singles tennis by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He has won 20 Grand Slam singles tennis titles (the most in history by a male player) and has held the top spot in the ATP rankings for a record 310 weeks. He has been ranked continuously in the top 10 since October 2010 till November 2016.

Federer came in on the 5th spot on the list of the highest-paid athletes presently. This is because of the $93.4 million that he raked in the previous year. The breakdown of his earnings is said to be $86 million in endorsement deals and $7.4 million in prize money.

In Federer’s current deal, he has a luggage brand, Rimowa, who signed an endorsement deal with him last year. This is in addition to deals with Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex, Moet & Chandon, Barilla and others.

#4. Canelo Alvarez

Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan, popularly known as “Canelo” Alvarez, is a Mexican professional boxer who is a four-division world champion. He has held the Unified WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring, and lineal middleweight titles since 2018, the IBF middleweight title from May to August 2019 and the WBA (Regular) super middleweight title since 2018.

Canelo weighed in at number 4 on the list of the highest-paid athletes for the year. This is because he raked in a total sum of $94 million in earnings last year. This is further broken down into a $92 million in salary/winning and an extra $2 million in endorsements.

This should not come as a surprise considering the number of titles he had won in his career. This is eclipsed by the deal he signed with DAZN in 2018, which is expected to be worth roughly $365 million for his next 11 fights of the boxing pay-per-view event.

#3. Neymar

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, popularly known as Neymar, is a Brazilian professional football player, who plays for the French outfit, Paris Saint Germaine. The 27-year-old made a switch from La Liga giants, Barcelona in a head-spinning deal worth $263 million, a record transfer fee and the most expensive transfer in the world in 2017.

Along with the record transfer fee, he signed a five-year contract with his current employer which will keep him with the French outlet till 2022. The deal is said to be $350 million, which handed the 3rd spot to him on the list of the highest-paid athletes presently. His earning for the current years running is put at $105 million. Further breakdowns of his total earnings are said to be $75 million in salary and winnings.

His endorsement deal sponsors include Beats Electronics, DAZN, Electronic Arts, Gillette, Mastercard, McDonald's, Nike, Red Bull, and TCL. These deals earned the PSG forward an extra $30 million.

#2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays for Italian giants, Juventus and captains his national team, Portugal. The 34-year-old is considered one of the best soccer players in the world at present. Having won the FIFA the Best Player award a record five times, tied with his rival, Messi and the Balon d’Or five times too, he lays his claim to being one of the greatest football players of all time.

His transfer from the Spanish team, Real Madrid to Juventus in 2018 scored him a four-year deal which will see him earn $64 million every year. This placed him on number 2 on the highest-paid athletes' list, as he made a whopping $109 million for the current campaign. He was said to make an extra $1 million on winnings. His sponsors include Altice, DAZN, Electronic Arts, Herbalife, MTG, and Nike, and this earned him another $44 million in endorsement deal earnings.

#1. Lionel Messi

Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini is an Argentine professional football player who plies his trade in Spain with FC Barcelona and also captains his national team. He is said to be one of the best football players of this generation and having won the Balon d’Or a record six times, is considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time.

He stands tall on the list of highest-paid athletes for the current year running as he cashed in a stunning $125 million. He was said to have made $92 million in salary and winning and his endorsement deals with Adidas, Gatorade, Huawei, Mastercard, and Pepsi are said to have fetched him $35 million more.

Last updated: Monday 3rd February 2020.