Creative Soccer Culture

CR7 Tops Forbes Rich List of Athletes

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first ever footballer to be listed as the highest-paid athlete in the world by American business magazine Forbes.

The annual list names the world's 100 highest-paid athletes and includes all salaries, prize money and bonuses paid out between June 1 last year and the same date in 2016. For the first time since 2000 the list isn't topped by Tiger Woods or Floyd Mayweather. Instead, Cristiano Ronaldo's takes the helm, benefitting from Mayweather's retirement and Woods's injuries to boast the fattest wallet, having earned $88 million (£60.4m) last year.

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Ronaldo’s contract at Real Madrid is worth more than $50 million a year. Throw in a seven figure bonus for winning the Champions League and $32 million worth of endorsements off the pitch and you can see why he's sat in that number one spot. Ronaldo's new five-year contract extension with Nike is worth $13 million a year and ensures that he's the most expensive athlete sponsorship deal in football. That may sound like it a lot, and it is, but when you consider Nike's $31 billion-in-sales then it starts to look like a bargain. 

According to Hookit, Ronaldo generated $36 million in value for Nike on social media via his own accounts through 59 posts over the last 12 months. Other Ronaldo endorsement partners include Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Pokerstars, Clear Shampoo and more. He has his own line of suits, cologne, shirts, shoes, underwear and hotels under construction.

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Ronaldo, Messi ($81.4m) and LeBron ($77.2m) make up the top three in a year that sees team sports excel. Ronaldo is only the second team athlete after Michael Jordan to rank as the top-paid since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990. With his five year contract with Nike and Real Madrid contract running until 2018, he won't be heading down the job centre any time soon. Still wonder how much he earned for this one...

View the full list of Forbes Top 100 Highest-Paid Athletes here.


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