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RICHEST ATHLETES: Which sports stars earned the most money?


Forbes have released their annual top ten rankings of the richest athletes on the planet with some astronomical earnings in the list.

The richest athletes in the world include three footballers, two NFL quarterbacks, two NBA stars and a tennis legend.

In order to create the table, Forbes analyse the athlete's monetary revenue over the course of the past 12 months - May 2020 to May 2021.

Irish UFC megastar Conor McGregor tops the list with earnings of around £127million this year despite just one fight.

He was paid about £16million for his knockout loss to Dustin Poirier in January, which was his first bout in a year.

Away from the octagon, McGregor earned somewhere in the region on £111million.

Generally, this figure mainly comes from the sale of his whiskey brand along with the other sponsorships he has.


British representation


One Briton made the list, with Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton clocking in at eighth place.

Hamilton, in stark contrast to McGregor, earned the vast majority of his £58million through his sporting talent.

The perennial Grand Prix winner reportedly pocketed just over £49million on the track over the last 12 months.

Adding on just over £8million in endorsements, many of which are emblazoned on his race gear, it's been a profitable year for Hamilton.

Part of Liverpool's ownership structure now, NBA star LeBron James ranks fifth on the list with around £68million.

Around £46million of that came from off-field activities, including being the star in a remake of the classic film Space Jam.

As well as Liverpool, James owns a small stake in a Baseball team - the Boston Red Sox - due to his involvement with Fenway Sports Group (FSG).


Forbes top ten list of the richest athletes on the planet 2021


  1. Conor McGregor; Irish UFC megastar, 32, earned around £127million
  2. Lionel Messi; FC Barcelona's star man, 33, pocketed over £90million
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo; the 36-year-old former Manchester United man took home just under £85million
  4. Dak Prescott; Dallas Cowboys quarterback, 27, had about £76million paid to him this year, thanks in part to a whopping £46.5million signing bonus
  5. LeBron James; a reigning NBA champion who plays the LA Lakers, 36, had around £68million in income
  6. Neymar; Paris Saint Germain's Brazilian forward, 29, has just signed a new contract to add to his £67million salary last year
  7. Roger Federer; the tennis legend, 39, gained almost all of his £64million from off-the-field sponsorships
  8. Lewis Hamilton; 36-year-old Mercedes driver Hamilton takings were just under £60million in a period where he won his sixth F1 championship in seven seasons
  9. Tom Brady; the oldest man on the list at 43 and Superbowl winning quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccanneers, Brady's takings were in the region of £54million
  10. Kevin Durant; after signing for the Brooklyn Nets in 2019, 32-year-old Durant has benefitted from just over £50million in the last 12 months

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