Forbes: Top ten richest athletes of 2016

Just a day after celebrating his 32nd birthday, Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the greatest to ever play the game, has been named by Forbes as the highest earning Male Athlete of 2016 to cap off quite a year from the Portuguese winger who also won the Champions League title with Real Madrid, as well as, the Euro 2016 with Portugal, and was named the 2016 FIFA Man of the Year and won his fourth Ballon D’Or.

Forbes calculated that in the 2016 calendar year, CR7 collected a stunning $88 million (€81.7 million) putting him solely on top of the list of athletes in the world and fourth overall on the celebrity top 100. Of the $88 million earned in 12 months, $56 million came from Ronaldo’s salary/winnings while the remaining $32 million came from endorsements.

Closely behind Ronaldo is his greatest rival, Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona, who accumulated $81.5 million. Ronaldo and Messi were the only two soccer players to break the top 20, with the third richest footballer being Neymar Jr. at 21st, making $37.5 million in 2016.

Kurt Badenhausen of reports that in 2016 alone, Ronaldo generated $176 million in value for his sponsors on social media. He made this money through his 59 endorsed posts to social media over the course of 12 months.

.LeBron James comes in third for pocketing $77.2 million and recent Australian Open champion Roger Federer is in at fourth, despite spending six months out in 2016 with injury.

Name of the Athlete Sport               Amount
Cristiano Ronaldo Football $88m
Lionel Messi Football $81.4m
LeBron James Basketball &77.2m
Roger Federer Tennis $67.8m
Kevin Durant Basketball $56.2m
Novak Djokovic Tennis $55.8m
Cam Newton American Football $53.1m
Phil Mickelson Golf $53.1m
Jordan Spieth Golf $52.8m
Kobe Bryant Basketball $50m

In the previous list, Floyd Mayweather was on top but due to him not taking to the ring in 2016, the legendary boxer dropped to 16th this year. Mayweather wasn’t the only sportsman losing his place in the top 10 with Tiger Woods dropping to 12th after a year crippled with injury.

Overall, the top 100 list features 26 baseball players, 21 from American football, 18 athletes from the NBA, 12 footballers, seven tennis players, six racers, five golfers, three boxers and Usain Bolt (sole track athlete) and Conor McGregor (only UFC fighter).