Forbes’ Sports Money Index has crowned Cristiano Ronaldo as the first footballer to take the lead in the list of highest paid athletes in the world in 2016.
The Real Madrid forward beats his long time rival, Lionel Messi, as the world’s greatest player and his earnings are listed as $114.6 million in the survey, broken down into $72.8m in salary and prize money and $41m in endorsements.
According to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, “with Mayweather hanging up his gloves and Tiger Woods hampered by injuries, there is an opening at the top.
The group announced:
“Filling the gap is the biggest star in the biggest sport on the planet.
“This year, soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s highest-paid athlete, with earnings of $88m over the past 12 months from salary, bonuses and endorsements. Ronaldo is only the second team athlete after Michael Jordan to rank as the top-paid since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990.”
Messi comes in second on the list with $105m and NBA star LeBron James third ahead of Australian Open champion Roger Federer.
Five sports are represented in the top 10 – Football, Basketball, Golf, Tennis and American football. Players for each sports include:
- Basketball’s Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant
- Tennis star Novak Djokovic
- Golf represented by Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth
- American football by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton
- Cristiano Ronaldo represent Football as highest paid athlete in the world.
Others who are spotted on the list as highest paid athletes include: Three-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton who is Britain’s highest-placed representative at 11th.
The former world’s number 1, Tiger Woods was earning only $357,000 in golf prize money but remained a marketable commodity with $58m in endorsements, while Rory McIlroy is 17th on the list of top 20 highest paid athletes.
The list also acknowledged the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys as most valuable sports teams with an estimated worth of $5.3 billion, followed by Real Madrid in the second position and Barcelona in the third position. Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots and Premier League Manchester United were not left behind, they completed the top five.
Sports Money Index includes athletes, teams, brands and agencies as well as the links between them – sportswear brand Nike ranked No 1 thanks in part to its associations with fourth-placed Barca, fifth-placed Ronaldo and sixth-placed James.
Forbes Sports Money Index 2016, top 20 highest paid athletes
- Cristiano Ronaldo, football, $114m
- Lionel Messi, football, $106m
- LeBron James, basketball, $100m
- Roger Federer, tennis, $88m
- Kevin Durant, basketball, $73m
- Novak Djokovic, tennis, $72m
- Cam Newton, American football, $69m
- Phil Mickelson, golf, $68.3m
- Jordan Spieth, golf, $68m
- Kobe Bryant, basketball, $65m
- Lewis Hamilton, Formula One, $59.3m
- Tiger Woods, golf, $59m
- Eli Manning, American football, $58m
- Joe Flacco, American football, $57.4m
- Tom Brady, American football, $57.2m
- Floyd Mayweather, boxing, $57m
- Rory McIlroy, golf, $55m
- Russell Wilson, American football, $54m
- Sebastian Vettel, Formula One, $53m
- Philip Rivers, American football, $49m