Cash Only: Athletes Who Sold Their Souls To The Highest Bidder

Darren - December 12, 2023

Cash Only: Athletes Who Sold Their Souls To The Highest Bidder

Darren - December 12, 2023

The Times of India

Neymar Jr.

It’s fair to say that Neymar has had one of the most disappointing sports careers ever. He was brilliant for Santos and in his early days with Barcelona. Meanwhile, he became Brazil’s talisman and the face of the tournament when they hosted the World Cup. But most people think that he continuously sold his soul to the highest bidder.

The Hindu

After wasting his mature years in the French farmer’s league, he joined Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal. The Saudi League team offered him a guaranteed $300 million across two years. Meanwhile, they gave him a 25-bedroom house and pay for everything he needs while he’s in the Kingdom (via Sky Sports).

Sporting News

Kahwi Leonard

Leonard is one of basketball’s least remorseful mercenaries. Everybody thought that he was in the perfect home in San Antonio as Tim Duncan’s heir apparent. But their relationship broke down and he joined the Raptors at the end of his contract. He won an iconic ring in Toronto but again quit the franchise.

NBC Sports

Then he signed a $103 million contract with the Clippers and included an opt-out clause. So far, he appears to be happy in L.A. but nobody knows how long that will last. However, his status as one of the game’s greediest players comes with pressure. Fans expect him to help them win instantly (via The Athletic).

Golf Channel

Phil Mickelson

Mickelson was one of the biggest names of his generation but the golfer is a fading force. He’s in the twilight of his career so that’s why he sold his soul to the highest bidder. In this case, it was the upstart LIV Golf that plunged the sport into chaos. The Saudi investors signed him as one of the faces of the new organization.

Golf Channel

It would be easier to respect him if he admitted it was about the money and that it was too much to say no. But he refuses to admit this and tries to say that golf will bring peace to the world. This is nonsense and many people think that he stained his legacy. That’s a shame because he was a golfing icon (via USA Today Sports).


Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is possibly the most recognizable athlete on the planet. He has made hundreds of millions from endorsements and contracts with massive soccer clubs in Europe. However, he enraged many fans when he joined Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr in 2023. He sold his soul to the highest bidder despite having more money than he ever needs.

Daily Post

They will pay him $213 million per season which is an insane figure. Meanwhile, he is also a cultural ambassador which means that they’ve bought him to say nice things about their regime. It’s horrific sports washing because Ronaldo is one of the most influential figures on the planet (via 90 Min).

Fox News

Shohei Ohtani

Everybody knew that Ohtani could sign a record contract after he left the Angels in 2023. But it was still insane to see the Dodgers offer him a $700 million deal. He’s indeed a once-in-a-lifetime player. The Japanese star is a genuine dual-threat and a two-time MVP award winner.

New York Times

He joined the highest bidder because he knew that this was the biggest opportunity of his life. Some people criticized him for staying in L.A. but he wants to win now. Meanwhile, Ohtani cannily deferred the majority of the payments until after his retirement because he wanted to help build a winning roster (via The Guardian).