Many people wish to become professional athletes, but very few can achieve it, and even fewer are those who become the most outstanding in the world. Being the best in their profession has its pros and cons.

Being the best means having more pressure and that people always expect the best from you, but at the same time, being the best means being sponsored by the best brands, having the best contracts, and being wanted by various brands.

For example, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are undoubtedly some of the best players in the history of soccer, their high level and influence in the sport make them the highest-earning soccer players in the world. Likewise, only six athletes have earned more than one billion dollars in their careers. The Portuguese and the Argentinian are on the list.

The athletes who have raised more than $1B during their careers

Forbes published an article revealing who are the only six athletes to have earned more than $1 billion during their professional careers. The ranking is led by Tiger Woods, who according to the data, has collected $1720 million. The 46-year-old golfer managed to earn more than $100 million a year and topped Forbes' annual list of the world's highest-paid athletes for a decade in a row.

Cristiano Ronaldo ranks No. 2 with $1240 million in earnings. Much of Ronaldo’s earning power comes from his massive social media presence. The large number of followers he has (only on Instagram he has 455 million) makes many brands want to patronize him. Nike, Herbalife, and Clear shampoo are some of his sponsorships. He is also an investor in Tatel restaurants and is the face of ZujuGP, a forthcoming app aiming to be a digital soccer community.

The third place is occupied by LeBron James. The 37-year-old has a $41.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also has a lifetime Nike contract and sold a significant minority stake in his production company, SpringHill, at a valuation of about $725 million. As if that weren't enough, he's a major investor. All his financial moves have earned him a profit of $1160 million.

Lionel Messi ranks fourth in the ranking with a profit of $1.15 billion. The Argentinean was the athlete who earned the most money in 2022, according to Forbes, with $130 million in pre-tax gross earnings. A large part of the Argentinean company's revenues came from sponsorships. For example, in March, Messi signed a deal worth $20 million annually with Socios, a fan engagement app built on blockchain technology. In addition, the Argentine has contracts with Adidas, Budweiser, and Pepsi. Also, in June, he became Hard Rock International’s first athlete brand ambassador.

Roger Federer is ranked number 4. According to Forbes, the tennis player has collected $1090 million. The 40-year-old Swiss is believed to have earned more money off the court ($90 million) than any other athlete in the world over the past 12 months. The last place of the six athletes who have earned more than one billion dollars is Floyd Mayweather. Due to the important fights, he has held and his investments, the boxer has collected $1080 million.