The Most-paid Athletes in 2022

​The sports industry has grown enormously in recent years. With technology making it easier for everyone to watch their favourite sport, we’re seeing a new generation of superstars emerging. In 2002, only eight athletes were paid more than $20 million a year, but in 2017, that number reached 16 players. As more fans tune into the sports they love, and with the industry generating around $149 billion in revenue every year (and rising), we’re looking forward to seeing who the highest-earning athletes are in 2022. Though it’s fairly difficult to predict who this will be, the top sportsmen tend to dominate across multiple competitions in a year. 

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is the best soccer player on the planet, and he’s about to get paid like it. According to The Sun, Messi’s net worth is expected to skyrocket from £200 million ($248 million) to £1 billion ($1.22 billion) by 2023. That would make him the richest athlete in the world—and put him ahead of even Floyd Mayweather (who currently has a net worth of $623 million). The Argentine’s salary at Barcelona is reportedly around £500,000 ($662,000) per week—but that won’t last long. His new contract with Adidas will reportedly be worth £100 million ($132 million), and he stands to earn even more through endorsements with other companies like PepsiCo and EA Sports. In addition to his soccer skills, Messi’s also known for his philanthropy: He created an organisation called “Messi & Friends” that raises money for children in need around the world.

Neymar Jr.

Neymar Jr. is one of the most famous and highest-paid football players in the world. His net worth is estimated to be $600 million. He was born on February 5, 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for French club Paris Saint-Germain as well as the Brazil national team.  He is known for his dribbling skills, finishing ability, pace, creativity and playmaking ability. He won the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year in 2011 and 2013 with his bicycle kick goals against England and Uruguay respectively.

Christiano Ronaldo

It’s no secret that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most famous athletes in the world. The Portuguese footballer is known for his incredible skills on the pitch and his stunning looks off it. But how much does he get paid? We’ve compiled a list of the most-paid athletes in 2022, and Cristiano Ronaldo tops it by far! He earns over $110 million per year in salary alone. That number doesn’t even include his endorsement deals—he gets paid to wear Nike gear, Tag Heuer watches, Castrol oil… you name it! (And we’re sure he’s got plenty more deals coming soon.)