Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been listed as the highest paid athlete in the world by Forbes, American business magazine.
Having seen the top of the list dominated by golfer Tiger Woods and boxer Floyd Mayweather for the past 15 years, a new name has reached the summit and for the first time ever, a footballer.
Ronaldo is the first footballer to ever top the annual list of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes, having earned $88m in the last 12 months – $6.6m more than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who is second.
The 100 leading sportsmen and sportswomen earned a cumulative of $3.1bn through salary and endorsements and Ronaldo has added the accolade of being paid more in salary and endorsements than any other athlete on the planet. Endorsements make up £32m of Ronaldo’s earnings and this is the first year since 2000 that someone other than Tiger Woods or Floyd Mayweather has led the way.
Woods dropped down to No 12, $274,000 as salary and winnings which is by far the least amount in terms of salary and winnings. Fortunately for the 14-time major winner, he garnered $45m in endorsements in the last 12 months. Mayweather is No 16, one place above McIlroy, who added $7.6m winnings to his $35m worth of endorsements.
Five Britons were among the top 100, Lewis Hamilton led the lot, appearing on the 11th with $46m, Rory McIlroy at 17 with $42.6m, Gareth Bale at 25 ($35.9m), Wayne Rooney at 49 ($26.1m) and Andy Murray at 74 ($23m).
Serena Williams was at 40 with ($28.9m) and Maria Sharapova ($21.9) at No 88. FedEx Cup winner Jordan Speith ($52.8m) was the biggest climber of the year, moving up from No 85 to No 9. The 23-year-old is also the youngest on the list, ahead of Barcelona forward Neymar.
The world’s fastest man in Usain Bolt, is down at 32nd but could well find himself up the order next year after another Olympic year in Rio.