Man at His Best

Cristiano Ronaldo Is World's Highest-Paid Athlete

Ronaldo brings back mega bucks for kicking a ball about.

BY Jack Holmes | Jun 13, 2016 | Money & Career


Forbes​ magazine have published its list of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes, and Cristiano Ronaldo is the big man on campus. The Real Madrid star stacked an eye-watering £61 million last year—£39 million in salary and winnings, and £22 million from various sponsorships, including Nike. 

The Portuguese forward earns his keep on the field. He's won the Spanish league and the Champions League twice with Real Madrid, along with back-to-back editions of the Ballon d'Or, for the world's best player. Off of it, Ronaldo brings it for his sponsors: He boasts 215 million followers across his social media channels, ​Forbes ​reports—60 percent more than any other athlete—and has leveraged that influence formidably. He made Nike £25 million in revenue, for instance, through just 59 social media posts last year. He also dominated social on behalf of his own brands, bringing in a combined £32 million for his footwear, fashion, and headphone labels.

At the number two spot, another soccer star took advantage of the game's global appeal to stack it up. Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi made himself more than £56 million last year, including £37 million in salary and winnings with Barcelona. He's followed at number three by the list's first American, LeBron James, and his rumoured USD1 billion lifetime contract with Nike. He made £16 million with the Cavs and £37 million in endorsements.

The rest of the top ten leans toward athletes outside team sports. Roger Federer is fourth, with £46 million, while Novak Djokovic (6), Phil Mickelson (8), and Jordan Spieth (9) also feature. Kevin Durant, Cam Newton, and Kobe Bryant (all team sport players) fill out the top bracket.

Overall, 65 of the top 100 athletic earners are American. 26 play baseball. In all, these individuals made over £2 billion combined last year.

You can find the full report at ​Forbes​.

From: Esquire UK.