The best sportsmen and women in the world are paid exorbitant amounts of money, not only in terms of earnings – but in endorsements too.
The power of the brand is often more valuable than the performances themselves. Now with social media in the frame, millions of dollars are paid out each year to the athletes who not only win frequently in their chosen sports but have legions of followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Here are four super sportsmen who banked more money than anyone else last year:
4. Canelo Alvarez - $94 million
Canelo Alvarez is a product of the buying power of ‘pay-per-view’ live streaming. He is also one of the most talented boxers on the planet.
Thanks to a recent contract with the subscription sports streaming service DAZN, Alvarez will earn at least $35 million per bout from now on!
The four-division world champion is not only a brilliant counterpuncher who has won 53 of his 56 fights – 36 by knock out. He and his biggest rival Gennady Golovkin attract more than one million pay-per-view buys and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue every time they meet in the ring.
Last year the red-haired Mexican earned $92 million in winnings. He also banked $2 million in endorsements from key sponsors Everlast and DAZN! Not bad for just 12 months work!
3. Neymar - $105 million
Brazilian striker, Neymar da Silva Santos is a genius with the football. He is also one of the most popular athletes ever in the social media stratosphere.
He’s a player who is minted in gold. Aside from attracting the highest transfer fee ever when he left Barcelona for Paris Saint Germain, his five-year contract with the French club is reputed to worth $350 million.
The 27-year-old Sao Paulo native scooped up $75 million in straight salary and a further $30 million in endorsements last year. Who are the big spending sponsors of this often-controversial figure?
Aside from Beats Electronics and DAZN, companies like Gillette, McDonalds, Red Bull and Nike are happy to have Neymar supporting their brands.
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2. Cristiano Ronaldo - $109 million
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is a legend in his own time. His list of individual honours is more than impressive, it is simply dumbfounding.
The Juventus striker has won six league titles, five Champions League titles and four FIFA Club World Cups. He is without a doubt one of the greatest players in the history of football.
What is even more extraordinary is Ronaldo agreed to take a pay cut when he joined Juventus in 2018. At $65 million a year the deal is still rich to say the least.
Factor in annual endorsements of $44 million and the social media’s most followed athlete – he has an estimated 400 million followers – had a take-home income of $109 million in 2019!
1. Lionel Messi - $127 million
Lionel Messi may be the antithesis of Cristiano Ronaldo in personality, but the Barca striker matches his Juventus opponent in all the important ways. Their rivalry is legendary as is evident from their impossibly close statistics.
The Argentine player has bagged 10 league titles, four Champions League titles and three FIFA Club World Cups. Until recently the two were neck and neck as Ballon d’Or winners. This year Messi scooped up a record sixth award.
In 2019 Messi earned $92 million in salary and winnings and he banked a further 35 million in endorsements (proving that he may be the more valuable football player) but Ronaldo still ranks as the endorsement king!
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