10 Highest Paid Athletes in the World in 2021

There are many different types of sports played internationally. Athletes from all over the world participate in them, representing their countries, associations, or any other organizations on behalf of which they are playing, for example, a soccer club. 

Due to their record-breaking performances in international games and other global sports platforms, sportspersons become highly popular and usually have millions of fans around the world. Their achievements translate into super successful careers and some of them even become role models for other players. 

The most successful athletes in the world are also the richest ones. So, if you are wondering how much your favorite sports star earns, then you have just made it to the right article. Here we are going to talk about the 10 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021.

Conor McGregor

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Conor McGregor belongs to Ireland. The 32-year-old MMA superstar has earned a total of $180 million during the last year. After becoming a super famous athlete, this former heavyweight champion also started his own business, which is already generating millions of dollars and makes a large part of Conor McGregor’s earnings.

In case you don’t know, Mixed Martial Arts, which is popularly known as MMA, is a hybrid type of combat sport, which is based on many different techniques adopted from boxing, wrestling, karate, judo, jujitsu, and Muay Thai (Thai boxing) among other fighting disciplines.

Lionel Messi

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The name of Lionel Messi doesn’t come as a surprise on our list of the highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021. The Argentinian sports star is among the greatest soccer players in the world. Lionel Messi’s total earnings for the last year hit the mark of a whopping $130 million. 

He is a captain of the Argentina national football team and has also remained a part of the Barcelona football club for more than two decades. This sports celebrity also appears in different TV shows and commercials every now and then.

Christiano Ronaldo

With a total earning of around $120 million, Christiano Ronaldo is right behind Lionel Messi in the list of the highest-earning athletes. This soccer player also needs no introduction. He is internationally famous and has millions of fans all over the world. Christiano Ronaldo belongs to Portugal. 

He is currently the captain of the Portugal national football team and also a part of the Juventus soccer club. Chosen as a brand ambassador by many different multinational companies, the Portuguese footballer often surprises his fans by appearing in TV commercials.

Also Read: Are Professional Athletes Overpaid?

Dak Prescott

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One of the most famous football quarterbacks in the US, Dak Prescott is also one of the richest athletes on the planet. He made a total of $107.5 million this year, which is a lot of money. He is currently serving as the football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, which is a part of the National Football League (NFL). Just at the age of 28, he has been honored with many rewards and achievements owing to his outstanding talent and skills as a footballer.

LeBron James

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LeBron James is a highly successful American basketball player, currently playing for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His total earnings stand at $96.5 million making him one of the highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021. 

LeBron James also holds the honor to represent USA three times in Olympic Games and with his incredible talent, he made Team USA earn medals in different campaigns, which greatly added to the popularity of this sports celebrity.


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Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as just “Neymar”, is one of the most popular Brazillian soccer players. In only last year, he earned $95 million, which makes the 29-year-old athlete one of the richest sports celebrities in the world. 

Along with serving as the captain of the Brazil national football team, Neymar is also a part of the Paris Saint-German football club. In his successful career, this Brazillian soccer champion has won many championships and league titles.

Roger Federer

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One of the most successful tennis players of all time, Roger Federer is also making a lot of money. With a total earning of $90 million, the world-famous Swiss tennis player has also made it to the list of the highest-earning athletes in 2021. 

Roger Federer has a huge fan following and has become an inspiration for many. His career as a tennis player has been a massive success. He holds a record of winning the Grand slam men’s singles championship 20 times.

Lewis Hamilton

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If you are a Grand Prix fan, then you must be familiar with the name of Lewis Hamilton. He is a world-famous British racing driver. With his incredible driving skills and knowledge, he is making a fortune in his field. During the last year, he has earned a staggering $82 million. 

This is why we have added him to the list of the highest-earning sports celebrities in 2021. Lewis Hamilton has been honored with many awards and achievements in his career, which is why he is known among the most successful Formula One (F1) drivers in the world.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady is another highly famous American football quarterback, playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL). Earning around $76 million a year, he is one of the highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021. 

With his amazing football skills and outstanding performance on the field, Brady made his team achieve three straight road victories, which allowed them to advance to the Super Bowl. Along with a highly talented football player, Tom Brady is also known for his appearance in Ted 2 and other big-screen movies.

Kevin Durant

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Widely known by his initials KD, Kevin Durant is an American Basket player that needs no introduction. He is a 32-year-old extremely successful athlete, who has earned $75 million only last year. KD currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

During his career as a sportsman, Kevin Durant has won two NBA championships. This highly talented basketball player has also been honored with the NBA Most Valuable Player award for his outstanding performances in 2014. KD also helped the national team to earn an Olympic gold medal back in 2012.

There you have it — a detailed list of the 10 highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021. So, now you know how much your favorite sports star earns. Why not share this interesting information with your friends and family, especially the ones who follow sports? Good idea, isn’t it? 

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Written by Spencer K