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by Theresa DiMartini July 04, 2020 6 min read

Ahhh sports, what are those again? If you’re anything like me, you are missing sports so much right now! From basketball playoffs, to the Tour de France, to tennis, to the MLB, sports are such an important part of our culture and lives. The fun gatherings at the local sports pub, the camaraderie, the passion--is all on hold right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but hopefully everything will be back up and running soon! To detract from the depression you’re surely feeling from lack of sports content coming from your devices, let’s take a look at the top 5 highest paid athletes in 2020 and the impressive Rolex watches they wear.

#1: Roger Federer $106.3 Million

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Famous tennis player Roger Federer hasn’t always been the world’s highest-paid athlete, but this year he is number one due to a humongous portfolio of very high paying endorsement deals. Over the course of his career he has won nearly $130 million in prize money, but has earned significantly more from his endorsements and appearances. In addition to being the highest paid athlete in 2020, he also frequently gives back. He has donated more than $50 million dollars to help provide education for millions of children in Africa.

Roger Federer has worn a lot of Rolex watches over the years, one being this stunning Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust II shown above. This watch is a classic Rolex and while Everest is currently in the development of straps for this exact watch, do make leather and rubber watch straps for other Datejust Models.

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Most recently, in February, the long time Rolex ambassador was spotted wearing a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day Date.This watch is 41mm and has an 18K white gold case and fluted bezel, black concentric circle dial, black Arabic numerals, and President bracelet. The black numerals on the black dial is such a stunning, modern look. We absolutely love this watch and wrote more about the iconic tennis player here!

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Roger Federer’s wife, Mirka, is also a lover of Rolex watches and has been spotted wearing the iconic “Rainbow Daytona” with diamond markers and precious rubies and sapphires around the bezel. While much less subtle than her husband's Rolex watch, it’s the perfect luxury watch for this former tennis player and wife of the number one highest paid athlete in the world!

#2: Cristiano Ronaldo $105 Million

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Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo was the second highest paid athlete in 2020, bringing in a modest $105 million dollars! According to Forbes magazine, when the Portuguese star left Real Madrid and joined Juventus in 2018, he took a paycut, but within 24 hours of his release, Juventus sold over 500,000 Ronaldo jerseys worth over $60 million. Other impressive accolades include being the club’s top scorer, and winning the FIFA’s Player of the Year five times. In addition to this, did you know that Cristiano Ronaldo is the most-followed account on Instagram? Yes, that’s right. With 225 million followers, he has more followers than Kylie Jenner (182M), Kim Kardashian (175M), and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (187M). You have to admit that’s a pretty impressive following!

Of course Cristiano is a phenomenal soccer player, but he also shocked the watch world this January when he wore a fully diamond encrusted Rolex worth close to $500,000!Rolex’s GMT-Master Ice reportedly retails for $485,350, and features 18-karat white gold and 30 carats of white diamonds. The bezel is set with princess-cut diamonds while baguette diamonds are featured in the bracelet. It’s safe to say Cristiano Renaldo isn’t afraid of a little (or a lot) of bling!

According to Page 6 Style,Ronaldo has become something of a watch collector; besides the pricey Rolex, he also owns a Franck Muller watch worth a whopping $1.5 million, a $130,000 Jacob & Co. limited-edition watch with 15.25 carats of diamonds.

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This Rolex GMT Master Ice is considered to be the most expensive Rolex watch ever made!

#3 Lionel Messi $104 Million

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As a current soccer player for Barcelona, Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi makes over $80 million annually. This, in addition to a life-long deal with Adidas, helps reign him in as the third highest paid athlete in 2020. Other accomplishments include Messi being awarded the European Golden Shoe for top scorer on the continent 6 times, and also earning FIFA’s Player of the Year. Being a lover of fashion, Lionel Messi started his own clothing line and opened his first store in Barcelona last year. He also loves to give back and was contacted by the World Health Organization in March to help lead a worldwide campaign aimed to stop the spread of Covid-19.

So, what kind of Rolex does a fashion-lover and football superstar wear? Lionel Messi has been seen on multiple occasions rocking an Everose™ Yacht Master with an Oysterflex™ Rolex rubber strap.  

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At Everest, we think a high quality watch strap absolutely enhances the look of ANY watch. When Rolex introduced their Oysterflex™watch strap in 2015 we were absolutely thrilled because we love the look of rubber on a Rolex.  Not in the market for a new Yacht-Master, but want the same cool look? You can find our assortment of high-quality Swiss-made aftermarket rubber straps for Rolex owners here.

#4 Neymar 95.5M

famous people and their watches

Neymar da Silva Santos Jr., known as simply “Neymar” is the son of a former professional soccer player and has excelled at soccer from a young age (often called a prodigy). This Brazillian soccer starplays forward for Paris Saint-Germain (French Club) and the Brazilian National team. According to Forbes, he is currently on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022 worth $350 million in salary. Also, as if he wasn’t already cool enough,Nike's Jordan Brand signed Neymar as its first soccer ambassador in 2016. In March 2020 its film unit released a movie about his life!

When you’re worth this much money, it only makes sense that you wear something dropping in diamonds on your wrist. Neymar has been seen wearing a Rolex GMT Master II (ref. 116759SARU) which proudly features 18 sapphires and 18 rubies on the bezel and a diamond-encrusted pave dial. This Rolex watch allegedly costs around $112,000! 

#5. Lebron James $88.2 Million


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Last, but certainly not least on our list of the top 5 highest paid athletes in 2020, we have Lebron James. Lebron James is a legendary four-time NBA MVP who is currently under a four-year contract with the LA Lakers for $153 million. Lebron is also much more than just an iconic and talented basketball player. He also has the NBA’s top endorsement portfolio, his own production company, his own media company, and several pizza franchises. He, like many of the other athletes above, is someone who also knows the importance of giving back. In 2018, Lebron James opened his first elementary school and plans to spend $41 million to send under-served kids to college. 


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Although Lebron James is a brand ambassador for the ever-impressive luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet, he also wears a few equally impressive Rolex watches on rotation. Most frequently he is seen wearing a yellow gold, 41mm Rolex Day Date II with a black dial. This large 41mm gold watch is perfect in size and stature for Lebron James, who stands 6 foot 9 and weighs around 280 pounds. 


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It’s safe to say that Lebron James loves rocking a yellow gold watch. He has also been seen wearing this Rolex Yachtmaster II. The watch and watch bracelet are also available in steel, rose gold, and platinum. Of course, if he wanted to save the integrity of that gorgeous gold watch band, a blue or white rubber watch band would also look totally boss on this watch and make it wearable both on and off the court!

Top 5 combined: $499 Million

With a combined total earnings of a mere $499 million, these top 5 highest paid athletes have the luxury of wearing just about anything they want on their wrists. It’s so awesome to see that each one wears a Rolex watch (or two or three), as Rolex and sports have a long history and deep connection with one another. Rolex watches in general are just such iconic and classic status symbols in addition to being extremely high-quality timepieces.  Seeing these photos of some of the greatest sports players of all time does make me miss sports, but also fills me with hope that things will be back to normal soon! Although the tournaments and sporting events have been cancelled, these athletes’ love for Rolex watches remains as strong as ever.

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Theresa DiMartini
Theresa DiMartini



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