Soccer icon across the globe, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the top spot on the Forbes list of highest paid athletes for the second year in a row. The position had previously been occupied by Tiger Woods or Floyd Mayweather for 15 straight years. Over the last 12 months, 100 top paid athletes have earned 3.1 billion Dollars, which is slightly below than 3.15 billion dollars of the previous year.
Americans top the top 100 with 63 athletes from the American nationals. This can be credited to the high salaries paid by NBA, NFL and MLB. On the overall list there are 21 countries of the United Nations. The average age of the 10 highest paid athletes is 31 among the top 100. There are 5 athletes in the 40s which is capped by Phil Mickelson who turns 47 this year. The youngest athlete is Andre Drummond who will turn 24 in August.
Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes
10. Lewis Hamilton
He had a total earning of $46 million along with salary and bonuses of $38 million. Hamilton is a Formula One racing driver who races for the Mercedes AMG Petronas. He is considered to be one of the best Formula One drivers in the history of the sport and has won the championship three times. He won the first title in 2008 with McLaren after which he won with Mercedes in 2014 and then again in 2015. There is no British driver to have victories greater than Hamilton in the history of Formula One. The victorie sum up to 57.
9. James Harden
In this year he reported total earnings of $46.6 million with salary and bonuses of $26.6 million. He signed the biggest contract in the history of NBA this year in July. The professional American basketball player plays for Houston Rockets of the NBA. Harden played college basketball for Arizona state where he was a Pac 10 Player of the Year in 2009. He earned recognition as the NBA’s most prolific scorer and earned recognition as the best shooting guard. He has earned All-Star nods 5 times. Before Houston Rockets, he played for Oklahoma City Thunder. His four year extension with the Rockets is going to pay an average of $57 million per year and a total of $228 million. By the end of this contract, his total career earnings after you combine salary and endorsements would be worth $560 million!
8. Stephen Curry
Curry’s earnings are a total of 47.3 million dollars and he is a popular basketball player. His net worth stands at $60 million and his salary is $40 million. His first season with the Warriors was very successful but the second one was bombarded with injuries. In his most recent season, his fans saw him return to form. On June 2012, Stephen and the Warriors won another championship beating Cleveland Cavs in five games. Married to Ayesha Alexander, they have two daughters together. He lives in California and his younger brother Seth is also a professional basketball player. He is the first player to earn more than $40 million per season.
7. Rory McIlroy
With a total earning of $50 million from golf for Rory and Football for Andrew, both the players tie up for the 6th and 7th place on our list. Rory hails from Northern Ireland and the professional golfer has a net worth of $110 million. He is a star on the amateur golf circuit but turned professional in 2007. So far his total career earnings are $34 million. Rory has been criticised by fans and media for his comments about golf commentator Jay Towsend on Twitter. He has also been criticised by his followers for not attending The Players Championship 2011. He was one of the only two champion golfers to not be a part of the championship. According to his accountants, his “book value” exceeds $400 million.
6. Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck is an American football player who has a net worth of $40 million and an annual salary of $24 million. He played excellent football in his high school years and graduated as the top recruit. He attended Stanford University where he was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and won multiple awards. Since he began his NFL career he has been a an NFL rookie more than once. He holds the record for the most passing yards by a rookie too. Between June 2016 and June 2017, Andrew Luck earned $50 million from salary and endorsements. His 2016 extension contract for $123 million included a bonus element of $32 million for signing which made him the highest paid NFL player based on average salary.
5. Kevin Durant
From playing basketball, Kevin Durant has bagged $60.6 million this year. He is one of the best football players who has a net worth of $150 million. Durant played high school basketball for three different schools. He played basketball for the Longhorns at the University of Texas but decided to enter the NBA during his freshman year. Named the NBA rookie for the year 2007, he was also the top scorer for 2009-10 session. During 2015, he earned $88m in salary alone. A three time NBA star, Durant is one of the highest paid athletes in 2017. Between June 2016 and June 2017, he earned $60 m from salary and endorsements. The three time scoring champion announced in July 2016 that he had signed a two year deal with Golden State Warriors for $54 million. He earns $36 million from endorsement deals with companies like Nike, Degree and more.
4. Roger Federer
The famous tennis player earned a total of $62 million this year. He is a Swiss born professional player who has a net worth of 450 million dollars and a total career earning of 105 million as of July 2017. He began playing tennis at a very early age and quickly showed signs that he had great talent for the game. At the age of 13, he accepted an invitation by Switzerland’s national tennis training center. He eventually became a top ranked player in the world and held the number 1 position for 237 consecutive weeks.
He has won the Wimbledon several times and is also a champion of the Australian Open, French Open and the US Open more than once. $65 million of his earnings last year came from endorsements. Federer has earned an absolutely ridiculous amount of money during his career and people now speculate whether he is going to reach the $100 million milestone first or will Novak Djokovic do it.
3. Lionel Messi
One of the most famous football players, Lionel Messi earned a total of $80 million for playing football. He is an Argentinian born professional footballer who has a net worth of $340 million. He earned this as a striker ad winger of the FC Barcelona and the Argentina National Team.
Messi played his first major soccer match at the age of 16 and at 17, he was the youngest person ever to play on Barcelona. Messi received a standing ovation during his first match after he scored alongside the superstar Ronaldinho. Out of his seventeen league appearances, he has given his team six goals. He is the second player after Ivan Zamorano to score a hat trick against real Madrid. In 2007-2008, his team was taken to the top four of La Liga, led by Messi. He also won a nomination as a forward for a FIFA ProWorld XI Player and he was named the best player of the world by the newspaper Marca.
2. LeBron James
Lebron James is American professional basketball player who has a net worth of $400 million. He earns around $25 million in salary every year. Among the top 100 athletes of the world were 32 NBA players. This number was 18 in 2017. The credit can be given to a new $24 billion contract which causes the salary cap to boost up by 34%. Baseball landed 22 players amongst 100 but none were in the top 25.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is the star on social media with 277 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. His posts are over 1500 in number and generated 1.7 billion interactions. Of the highest paid athletes, 15 were from the area of football, which is the highest amongst other sportsmen numbers amongst the top 100. His net worth is $400 million and he earns a base salary of $40 million and an additional $40 million from endorsements.
Ronaldo’s father was a gardener and his mother was a cook. He had surgery for a racing heart at the age of 15. No wonder football is the most favourite pastime for the people who can afford the luxury of watching football instead of sweating the hours in labour. He left Manchester United for a $150 million contract with Real Madrid and has been playing for them since 2009.