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Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Lionel Messi in world's highest paid athletes list

Ronaldo and Messi are the two highest paid athletes in the world

cristiano ronaldo highest paid
Cristiano Ronaldo has been in stunning form for Real Madrid this season

Popular website and magazine, Forbes, released their list of highest paid athletes in 2016. For the first time in more than a decade, the list is headed by someone other than Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather. With Woods suffering from injury and Mayweather calling time on his career, the list is now headed by Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo has earned an estimated $88 million over the past 12 months from salary, bonuses and endorsements making him only team the second team athlete since Michael Jordan to head this list ever since it was started by Forbes in 1990.

The Real Madrid superstar’s contract is worth an astonishing $50 million a year in salary and bonus and runs through 2018. His contracts with popular brands like Nike, Tag Heuer and Herbalife have earned him a sizeable fortune.

At second place is Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. The Argentine maestro earned a stunning $81.4 million over the past 12 months from salary, bonuses and endorsements. Lucrative endorsement deals with Adidas, Tata Motors and Gatorade have helped Lionel Messi become one of the richest athletes in the world. Messi and Ronaldo are the only footballers in the top 10 list.

At number 3, we have basketball legend Lebron James, followed by probably the greatest tennis player of all time Roger Federer at 4th position. Although Federer failed to win a grand slam last year, he still remains the king outside the court earning an eye-watering $67.8m making him the highest paid individual athlete in the world.

The remaining 6 places of the top 10 are taken by Kevin Durant (basketball),Novak Djokovic (Tennis), Phil Mickelson (Golf), Cam Newton (American Football), Jordan Spieth (Golf) and basketball legend Kobe Bryant. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are truly the best football players of this generation and they are being paid accordingly.

Tennis and Golf have always seen some of the best paid individual athletes and it is no surprise that Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic feature in the top 10. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are the best paid female athletes in the world, although Sharapova has been caught in a doping scandal for taking the banned substance Meledonium. 

Ronaldo and Messi’s dominance on this list is set to continue as the duo are showing no signs of slowing down with both of them tied to lucrative long-term contracts with their sponsors.

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