Roger Federer, LeBron James Headline Forbes Highest-Paid Athletes List

Federer topped the Forbes list for highest-paid athletes, earning $106 million in 2019

Federer Forbes LeBron
Roger Federer during the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2020.
Fred Lee/Getty Images
By Luis Paez-Pumar / May 30, 2020 12:38 pm

In an annual tradition like no other, Forbes released its list of the highest-paid athletes in the world this week, and there are some megastars at the top of the list. Tennis legend Roger Federer tops the list for the first time, having earned over $106 million in a 2019 that saw him go without a Grand Slam win for the first time since 2016.

Federer is followed on the list by three soccer players: Juventus’s Cristiano Ronaldo takes the second place spot with earnings of $105 million, while Barcelona’s Lionel Messi ($104 million) and Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar ($95.5 million) trail just behind. Rounding out the top five is the first American athlete on the list: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who earned $88.2 million last year.

There are three NFL quarterbacks in the top 20 this year, with Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz, and Jared Goff all locking in their spot with earnings of $49 million or higher. Five other NBA players also make an appearance in the top 20, with former teammates Stephen Curry (#6) and Kevin Durant (#7) claiming top ten spots.

Further down the list, four combat athletes racked in enough in earnings to clinch top 20 spots: boxers Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Deontay Wilder, as well as UFC firebrand Conor McGregor. On the women’s side, Naomi Osaka became the highest-paid female athlete ever, toppling fellow tennis star Serena Williams’ record with a whopping $37 million in earnings in 2019.

Forbes also released a list of the highest-paid athletes of the last decade, topped by retired boxer Floyd Mayweather, who earned $915 million from 2010 to 2019. Ronaldo, Messi, James, and Federer all also appeared in the top 5 of the decade list.

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