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Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi top Forbes' list of world's highest-paid athletes for 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo has been officially crowned as the highest-paid sportsman by Forbes, becoming the first footballer to be the world’s richest athlete.

Ronaldo became only the second team sport athlete to top Forbes' annual list since its inception in 1990. The Real Madrid forward pipped his long-time rival Lionel Messi, who came in second.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Reuters

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. Reuters

The former Manchester United star raked in an eye-watering $88 million in a calendar year that he won the Champions League, World Club Championship and Euro 2016. His incredible revenue came from his salary, his sponsorship endorsements and bonuses. The Barcelona striker earned $81.4 million in the same year, according to Forbes.

However, Ronaldo and Messi are the only footballers in the top 20. Neymar ranks joint-21st with Rafael Nadal, who both earned $37.5m.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic follows in at 23rd-place ($37.4m) and Gareth Bale ($35.9m) completes the top 25.

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.

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).

Here is the top 20:

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football) - $88m

2. Lionel Messi (Football) - $81.4m

3. LeBron James (Basketball) - $77.2m

4. Roger Federer (Tennis) - $67.8m

5. Kevin Durant (Basketball) - $56.2m

6. Novak Djokovic (Tennis) - $55.8m

7. Cam Newton (American Football) - $53.1m

8. Phil Mickelson (Golf) - $52.9m

9. Jordan Spieth (Golf) - $52.8m

10. Kobe Bryant (Basketball) - $50m

11. Lewis Hamilton (F1) - $46m

12. Tiger Woods (Golf) - $45.3m

13. Eli Manning (American Football) - $45m

14. Joe Flacco (American Football) - $44.5m

15. Tom Brady (American Football) - $44.1m

16. Floyd Mayweather (Boxing) - $44m

17. Rory McIlroy (Golf) - $42.6m

18. Russell Wilson (American Football) - $41.8m

19. Sebastian Vettel (F1) - $41m

20. Philip Rivers (American Football) - $38m

Updated Date: Feb 04, 2017 19:42 PM

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