Jon Rahm has reportedly become the highest-paid athlete in the world after signing a sensational deal to join LIV Golf on Thursday.
The Spaniard signed for LIV Golf – despite previously claiming he would never jump ship to the Saudi circuit – penning terms on an eye-watering deal worth at least £400million ($500m).
The move was announced on Thursday night on social media, only for LIV to have spelled their new star’s name incorrectly in an embarrassing gaffe.
The Masters champion had been one of the highest-profile players to reject the advances of the Saudi circuit, with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods reportedly turning down offers of £250m and £790m respectively to stick with PGA.
As such, Rahm has overtaken a number of the world’s biggest names in sport to take No 1 spot, leapfrogging the likes of LeBron James, Lionel Messi, Roger Federer and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Jon Rahm’s big-money LIV move was finally confirmed on Thursday, with the Spaniard now earning around £400million
Rahm won 11 PGA events over his eight-year professional career, including the 2021 US Open
Cristiano Ronaldo is second in the top 10 rankings on a deal worth some £136m at Al-Nassr
‘It’s not an easy decision,’ Rahm said. ‘There were a lot of things LIV had to offer that was really enticing.’
‘I can’t comment on any of that, nor do I want to,’ Rahm said about the monetary value of his deal. ‘It is private and it is going to stay private. Listen, it was a great offer. The money is great, it is wonderful.
‘Being part of a team has been something that’s really big for me throughout my career,’ Rahm said.
‘As a pro, you don’t have that chance very often. It is something that is very very fun to play, for something that is more than just yourself.’
Rahm earns almost three times as much as second placed Ronaldo, whose Al-Nassr contract is thought to be worth around £136m-a-year according to Forbes, although other reports suggest his wages are closer to £175m.
Behind Ronaldo comes his long-term rival Messi just £6m short on £130m, followed by PSG superstar and former team-mate Kylian Mabppe on £120m.
The France captain just about edges out NBA legend LeBron James’ £119.5m deal at the LA Lakers, the leading earner in basketball.
Boxing’s sole offering in the top 10 is Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, with the Mexican leading the way on £110m, followed by two golfers; Dustin Johnson (£107m) and Phil Mickelson (£106m).
Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors is the second NBA star on the list, raking in around £100.4m-a-year, with a perhaps surprising inclusion at No 10 in Roger Federer, despite his retirement from tennis in 2022.
The Master champion admitted that ‘the money is great’ but he personally intended to keep it secret
Ronaldo’s long-time rival Lionel Messi is football’s second-highest earner on £130m-a-year
LeBron James leads the way in the NBA with a £119.5m deal putting him just half a million behind Kylian Mbappe
In addition to his deal, LIV events offer top prizes of more than £3m at each of their 14 competitions in 2024, which could ultimately see Rahm earn make more than half-a-billion in his first year on the Saudi circuit.
According to Forbes’ list, Rahm now owns over four times as much as LIV Golf’s second-highest earner in Dustin Johnson.
His switch to LIV comes as Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan – head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund who bankroll the circuit – prepares to meet Jay Monahan, commissioner of the PGA Tour.
Following the surprise announcement of a ‘peace deal’ between the two rival factions, talks are expected to take place on the agreement made in June.