Richest Athletes in the World

It’s quite interesting to note the fact that a lot of top athletes in the world make more money through endorsements than through playing. Some clever inking of deals which result in a win-win for both the athlete and the brand is a trend that is growing extremely popular.

Some of the highest earning sportspersons earn nearly 4x times more money through brand endorsements and sponsorships.

Here’s a look at the top paid athletes and the brands they endorse.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football) – Nike

Cristiano Ronaldo

In the recent years, Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as one of the most marketable athletes in the world. The goal scoring machine known for his infield exploits is also a poster boy outside with a good sense of fashion.

Though there is enough money for the take in football, Ronaldo wouldn’t mind a few extra bucks for the things he simply loves doing. Nike has a whopping $32 million deal with the world’s most celebrated footballer. Herein the Portuguese star will feature in ads and endorse Nike shoes and apparels from the most valuable sports brand in the world. There are also other contract signings for Ronaldo with brands like Tag Heuer, Armani and Castrol.

Here’s a new video from Nike featuring Cristiano Ronaldo with other Nike sponsored footballers.

2. Lionel Messi (Football) – Adidas

Messi Football

The ‘Golden Boy’ from Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo’s biggest nemesis is another top earning athlete in the world. Lionel Messi, barring his magical touches and unbelievable plays inside the football field is one of the most awed sportspersons around the world.

Adidas has a $28 million deal with the Argentinian star wherein the German manufacturer’s new and exciting range of apparels and Adidas shoes for football are endorsed by Messi.

Here’s Messi rising above hate in the new Adidas Football video

3. LeBron James (Basketball) – Nike

LeBron James

Seems like Nike has an eye for the best athletes. LeBron James or ‘King’ James as he is now known, is among the most popular Basketball players in the world. Known for his strength, speed and accuracy, the 31-year-old is a force to be reckoned with inside the field of play.

As interesting and exciting as he is inside the Basketball turf, James is an equally charming persona outside of it. This has made Nike sign a lifetime contract, a one-of-its-kind deal with the biggest Basketball playmaker in recent years. In addition to Nike, LeBron James has signings with Coca-Cola, Microsoft and McDonald’s.

Here’s King James delivering on his promise of winning a championship for Cleveland after 42 years.

4. Usain Bolt (Athletics) – Puma

Usain Bolt

This is one deal that has most benefitted the brand than the athlete. No one knew that Usain Bolt could be greater than life. But indeed he was. “The Fastest Man on Earth” is the prime reason behind all rising popularity of Puma as a sports brand.

However, Usain Bolt did not just give his all to the brand without getting his share back. He is the most marketable track and field athlete in the world with earnings in endorsement nearly 5 times more other athletes.

Here’s “Lightning” Bolt’s new ad with fellow runner Asafa Powell for Puma.

5. Novak Djokovic (Tennis) – UNIQLO

Novak Djokovic

Thanks to Novak Djokovic, the lesser-known Japanese performance wear brand, UNIQLO has come into limelight. Popular predominantly in Japan and other Asian countries, UNIQLO got the exposure it wanted for long through the World No.1 Tennis Player.

Novak Djokovic has signed a $44 million deal for 5 years with the Japanese clothing company. The star also has other precious sponsorships with brands including Peugeot and Seiko Watches.

Here’s Novak Djokovic for UNIQLO sportswear.

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