Connect with us

Top Lists

The Top 20 Highest Paid Athletes in the World 2017




The Top 20 Highest Paid Athletes in the World

Ever wondered who the highest paid athletes are?

There’s a big divide in pay-cheques between good players and the greatest players. It’s probably bigger than you think. Just how much are the top athletes in the world earning, and who are those top athletes?

This article outlines exactly who those people are, based on the amount of money they each earned last year. Football players, boxers, golfers, NBA players…

Take a look…


Top 20 Highest Paid Athletes in the World

All the stats given here in terms of earnings last year, have come straight from Forbes. We’ve taken these numbers and brought them to you within a detail-packed article.

Here are the world’s top paid athletes:


1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Highest Paid Players - Cristiano Ronaldo

Earnings: $88 Million

Cristiano Ronaldo is considered to be one of the best, if not the best soccer player in the world. He’s received multiple player of the year awards, and is known for being incredibly confident and passionate on the field.

“There is no harm in dreaming of becoming the world’s best player. It is all about trying to be the best. I will keep working hard to achieve it but it is within my capabilities.” – Cristiano Ronaldo


2. Lionel MessiHighest Paid Players - Lionel Messi

Earnings: $81.4 Million

Coincidentally, Lionel Messi, another of the best soccer players in the world, is also at the top of this list. Messi is originally from Argentina, and often battles with Ronaldo for the best player of the year award.

“I am competitive and I feel bad when we lose. You can see it in me when we’ve lost. I’m in a bad way. I don’t like to talk to anyone.” – Lionel Messi


3. LeBron James

Highest Paid Players - LeBron James

Earnings: $77.2 Million

LeBron James is a professional NBA player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and is considered to be one of the greats in basketball. Hence why he appears 3rd on the list of highest-paid athletes.

“There is a lot of pressure put on me, but I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel if I play my game, it will take care of itself.” – LeBron James


4. Roger Federer

Highest Paid Athletes - Roger Federer

Earnings: $67.8 Million

Roger Federer has won over 18 grand slams in the world of Tennis, and most would regard him as the greatest tennis player of all time. He’s currently coming towards the end of his career, and is ranked 10th in the world.

“Early in my career, I struggled with consistency, but I couldn’t get more consistent than this year.” – Roger Federer


5. Kevin Durant

Highest Paid Athletes - Kevin Durant

Earnings: $56.2 Million

Kevin Durant is the 2nd NBA player to be featured on this list. Durant plays number #35 for the Golden State Warriors, and has won several awards, including the ‘NBA Most Valuable Player’ award.

“I just loved being in the gym. It was tough at times. Sometimes I wanted to quit, but I’m glad I stuck with it.” – Kevin Durant


6. Novak Djokovic

Highest Paid Athletes - Novak Djokovic

Earnings: $55.8 Million

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian tennis player, and currently ranked number #2 in the world, behind Andy Murray. Djokovic is 29 years old, and has won over 12 grand slams throughout his career.

“My mother is a special story. She went through so much to bring us up, four men at home, especially when our country was going through really difficult times.” – Novak Djokovic


7. Cam NewtonHighest Paid Athletes - Cam Newton

Earnings: $53.1 Million

Cam Newton is an American football player in the NFL. Newton plays as quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, and is the only player in the modern game to have won the Heisman Trophy, a national championship, and become the first overall pick in an NFL draft within a one-year span.

“Control what you can control. Don’t lose sleep worrying about things that you don’t have control over because, at the end of the day, you still won’t have any control over them.” – Cam Newton


8. Phil Mickelson

Highest Paid Athletes - Phil Mickelson

Earnings: $52.9 Million

Phil Mickelson is an American professional golfer. Mickelson is 46 years old, and has won over 42 events on the PGA tour. He is the highest paid golfer on this list of highest paid athletes.

“My family has reduced the effect of my career on my self-esteem. When I’m with them, they make me feel special regardless of how I play.” – Phil Mickelson


9. Jordan Spieth

Highest Paid Athletes - Jordan Spieth

Earnings: $52.8 Million

Jordan Spieth is an American professional golfer on the PGA Tour, and former world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking. He is a two-time major winner and the 2015 FedEx Cup champion.

“If you are going to talk negative about a place, you’re almost throwing yourself out to begin with because golf is a mental game.” – Jordan Spieth


10. Kobe Bryant

Highest Paid Athletes - Kobe Bryant

Earnings: $50 Million

Kobe Bryant is another of the world’s greatest NBA players, now retired. Bryant played for the LA Lakers, his entire career, and won five NBA championships with the team.

“I’ll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it’s sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot.” – Kobe Bryant


11. Lewis Hamilton

Highest Paid Athletes - Lewis Hamilton

Earnings: $46 Million

Lewis Hamilton is a British Formula One racing driver from England, currently racing for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team. Hamilton is a three-time Formula One World Champion, and regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in history.

“You just need to be accepted for who you are and be proud of who you are and that is what I’m trying to do.” – Lewis Hamilton


12. Tiger Woods

Highest Paid Athletes - Tiger Woods

Earnings: $45.3 Million

Tiger Woods is an American professional golfer who is one of the most successful golfers of all time. He has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years. Even if you don’t follow golf, you will have heard of Tiger Woods.

“Achievements on the golf course are not what matters, decency and honesty are what matter.” – Tiger Woods


13. Eli Manning

Highest Paid Athletes - Eli Manning

Earnings: $45 Million

Football runs in the family when it comes to the Mannings. Eli is a quarterback for the New York Giants, and also the younger brother of Peyton Manning. He’s now 36 years old, and one of the highest paid athletes in the world.

“I’m worried about doing my best, playing to my potential, helping out my teammates, and trying to win games for the Giants.” – Eli Manning


14. Joe Flacco

Highest Paid Athletes - Joe Flacco

Earnings: $44.5 Million

Joseph Vincent Flacco is an American football quarterback who plays for the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL. He is among many other quarterbacks featured within this article. Flacco has featured in multiple championship games, and been name the ‘Most Valuable Player’ in the past.

“It’s going to be a fight to the end, we’re not going to give up.” – Joe Flacco


15. Tom Brady

Highest Paid Athletes - Tom Brady

Earnings: $44.1 Million

Tom Brady is an American football player, playing in the NFL for the New England Patriots. Like Flacco, who was featured previously, Brady is also a quarterback, and quite possibly the best in the game. Brady facilitated the greatest comeback in Superbowl history this year.

“I don’t care about three years ago… I don’t care about two years ago, I don’t care about last year. The only things I care about is this week.” – Tom Brady


16. Floyd Mayweather

Highest Paid Athletes - Floyd Mayweather

Earnings: $44 Million

Floyd Mayweather ended his career being discussed as one of the greatest boxers of all time, along with Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson. Mayweather is the highest paid boxer in the world, and won over 49 fights in his 20 year career.

“When it’s all said & done only God can judge me. I’m going to go out there on 5/5 to give my fans what they want to see.” – Floyd Mayweather


17. Rory McIlroy

Highest Paid Athletes - Rory McIlroy

Earnings: $42.6 Million

Rory McIlroy, MBE is a Northern Irish professional golfer, who is a member of both the European and PGA Tours. McIlroy is now 27 years old, and was world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking for 95 weeks.

“The next time I cry about golf it will only be with joy. It’s not worth crying over golf for any other reason. After all, it’s only a game.” – Rory McIlroy


18. Russell Wilson

Highest Paid Athletes - Russell Wilson

Earnings: $41.8 Million

Russell Wilson is another of the great quarterbacks to make it onto this list. Wilson is a quarterback in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks. During his career, he’s won the Super Bowl championship with the Seahawks, and also won the award for ‘Rookie of the Year’.

“I truly believe in positive synergy, that your positive mindset gives you a more hopeful outlook, and belief that you can do something great means you will do something great.” – Russell Wilson


19. Sebastian Vettel

Highest Paid Athletes - Sebastian Vettel

Earnings: $41 Million

Sebastian Vettel is a German racing driver, currently driving in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari. He is a four-time Formula One World Champion, having won with Red Bull Racing. Vettel comes under Lewis Hamilton in the highest paid Formula One drivers.

“I don’t care too much what happened in the past. I prefer to focus on what is coming next and I am really looking forward to it.” – Russell Wilson


20. Philip Rivers

Highest Paid Athletes - Philip Rivers

Earnings: $38 Million

I think it’s pretty clear that NFL quarterbacks are on average the highest paid athletes over all. Philip Rivers is a quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers, making him #20 on this list.

“It’s time for me to step up and take control. That’s what I’ve always been used to.” – Philip Rivers



Here’s a quick recap on the list of the top 20 highest paid athletes in the world:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo
  2. Lionel Messi
  3. LeBron James
  4. Roger Federer
  5. Kevin Durant
  6. Novak Djokovic
  7. Cam Newton
  8. Phil Mickelson
  9. Jordan Spieth
  10. Kobe Bryant
  11. Lewis Hamilton
  12. Tiger Woods
  13. Eli Manning
  14. Joe Flacco
  15. Tom Brady
  16. Floyd Mayweather
  17. Rory McIlroy
  18. Russell Wilson
  19. Sebastien Vettel
  20. Philip Rivers

How many of these people did you think would appear on this list of the highest paid athletes in the world? Leave a comment below.

Dan Western is the founder of Wealthy Gorilla. Dan has been running Wealthy Gorilla for the last 5 years, whilst traveling the world and being able to call Bali, Indonesia, his HQ. To this day, Wealthy Gorilla has become one of the fastest growing self-development sites in the world; with over 40 million views worldwide, and more than 200,000 followers on social media. Dan's mission is simply, to inspire others to live their dreams and be the person to whom they say; "Because of you, I never gave up."

Wealthy Gorilla is one of the fastest growing self-development websites worldwide; with articles and stories covering everything from quotes, net worths, richest lists, self-development lessons, and more. We have reached over 40 million views in the past 5 years, and amassed over 200,000 followers on social media. We are continuing on our mission to inspire and motivate people around the world. Welcome to our community, and we are so grateful to have you here with us. You can click on any of the buttons below to follow us on our social media channels; or to get in touch with the founder, Dan Western, head over to the 'contact' page.

Copyright © 2014-2020 Wealthy Gorilla - All Rights Reserved