Most Expensive Sports Contracts In History List: Ronaldo Topples Messi
With Ronaldo signing a lucrative deal with Saudi club, Al-Nassr, who are currently atop the Saudi Arabia’s Pro League table, the Portugal legend has deposed Lionel Messi at the top of the most expensive sports contracts in history list. The latest development begs the question, who else has had the good fortune of signing the most expensive contracts in sporting history?
The team at Betting.com has answered exactly that, ranking and revealing the next most expensive contracts from the world of sports after Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr deal, based on what each sportsperson earned per year.
The photo above shows the top five sportspersons in the list; Ronaldo, Messi, Canelo Alvarez, Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns. Read their details and those of four others in tjis piece.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £173 million per year
Cristiano Ronaldo has put pen to paper on a mega-money deal with Saudi Arabian side, Al-Nassr, which will see him earning an eye-watering £173 million a year, making his the most expensive sports contract in the history of not just football, but all sports.
The 37-year-old footballer mutually agreed to terminate his contract with Manchester United last November, after his relationship with officials at the Premier League club gradually deteriorated over several months.
2. Lionel Messi – £137.2 million per year
During Argentine footballer, Lionel Messi’s final four years at FC Barcelona (2017-2021), the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was on a very lucrative contract, which saw him earn an average of £137.2 million per year. This worked out at an astonishing £2.69 million paid into Messi’s bank account per game.
The World Cup winner has now lost his place at top spot when it comes to expensive sports contracts, as Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr deal is worth a whole £35.8 million more per year.
3. Canelo Alvarez – £59.4 million per year
In 2018, boxer Canelo Alvarez signed a five-year contract with the global sports entertainment platform, DAZN, worth a whopping £59.4 million per year.
A world champion in four different weight classes, the Mexican boxer’s money-making contract also earned him an average of £27 million per fight over the last five years.
4. Devin Booker – £45.6 million per year
The NBA star recently renewed his contract with the Phoenix Suns, giving the point guard one of the most profitable deals in the history of basketball.
With the new contract coming into effect in 2024, the three-time NBA All-Star now stands to earn over £182 million by 2028.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns – £45.6 million per year
Not only is Karl-Anthony Towns’ bumper new contract worth the same record-breaking value as fellow basketballer Devin Booker’s, but the two contracts will come into effect during the same time period of 2024 – 2028.
Towns’ new deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves will see the NBA forward earn an astonishing £556,100 per game.
6. Stephen Curry – £43.9 million per year
One of the most decorated basketball players of all time, Stephen Curry, has also signed the third highest-paid contract in NBA history earlier this year.
With his Golden State Warriors team, Curry has won the NBA championship on four occasions, as well as being named the NBA’s most valuable player in 2015 and 2016.
7. Zach La Vine – £43.8 million per year
The big money truly is in basketball, with the Chicago Bulls’ Zach La Vine also getting in on the action, signing a contract worth £43.8 million per year earlier this year.
La Vine was part of the USA Olympic team that won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, and has been a two-time NBA All-Star, featuring in 2021 and 2022.
8. Max Verstappen – £43.4 million per year
The Formula 1 driver’s bumper new contract with Red Bull racing will come into effect in 2023, keeping the Dutchman with Red Bull until 2028.
Worth a huge £43.4 million per year, an average of £1.97 million per racing event, Verstappen’s sensational new contract drives him into pole position in having the most expensive contract in Formula 1 history.
9. Nikola Jokić – £43 million per year
Yet another basketball star to earn an enormous contract, Serbian Nikola Jokić’s deal with the Denver Nuggets, worth £43 million per year, will come into effect in 2023.
While the fifth-most expensive contract in NBA history is certainly very expensive, 6”11” Jokić was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in both 2021 and 2022 – value for money, indeed, for the Denver Nuggets.