Ronaldo edges Messi, LeBron and Federer as world's highest-paid athlete

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Cristiano Ronaldo has topped Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes for 2016.

The Real Madrid and Portugal star earned $88m – $56m in salary and bonuses, $32m in endorsements – between 1 June 2015 and 1 June 2016.

Lionel Messi ($81.4m), LeBron James ($77.2m), Roger Federer ($67.8m) and Kevin Durant ($56.2m) rounded out the top five.

Serena Williams, No 40 on the list with $28.9m in total, was the top-earning female athlete, finally coming in ahead of Maria Sharapova, who was No 88 with $21.9m. While each brought home $20m in endorsements, Williams’ $8m advantage in prize money was the difference. The WTA rivals were the only two women in the top 100.

The youngest on the list was No 9 Jordan Spieth, the 22-year-old golf star who earned $52.8m on the strength of a season that saw him win the Masters and US Open in addition to a $10m windfall for winning the FedEx Cup. The oldest was No 8 Phil Mickelson ($52.9m), who turns 46 this month.

While last year’s list saw Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao at No 1 and No 2 on the strength of their seminal if underwhelming blockbuster fight, the boxers are down to No 16 and No 63, respectively.

Ronaldo’s ascent to the top spot marks the first time since 2001 that someone other than Mayweather or Tiger Woods ranked No 1.

The 100 athletes on the list are drawn from 23 different countries, with Americans (65) and Britons (five) leading the way and three apiece hailing from Argentina, Germany and the Dominican Republic. Baseball players account for more than a quarter of the list (26), followed by the NFL (21), basketball (18), soccer (12), tennis (seven) and motorsports (six).

Interestingly, Cliff Lee made the list at No38 – $29.2m in salary, $100,000 in endorsements – despite not throwing a single pitch. The Philadelphia Phillies exercised an option to buy out his contract after the former Cy Young Award winner suffered an elbow injury that ultimately ended his career.

Others of note include Woods at No 12 ($45.3), Usain Bolt at No 32 ($32.5m), Stephen Curry at No 69 ($23.6m), Conor McGregor at No 85 ($22m) and Canelo Alvarez ($21.5m).

Forbes noted that overall earnings for the top 100 were down, but endorsement income climbed 11% to $924m.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Guardian sport, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 8th June 2016 21.43 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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