Forbes reveals the best money-making athletes on the planet

According to Forbes magazine of America, the captain of the Portuguese team, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest income athlete in the world. 

The Real Madrid superstar is the first footballer to hold No. 1 on the planet’s highest paid 100 athletes annual rankings, with $88 million in the past 12 months – $6.6 million more than Enemies on the Barcelona side, Lionel Messi, the player is in second place.

There are 5 UK athletes in the top 100. F1 driver, Lewis Hamilton ranked 11th with 46 million USD, followed by Rory McIlroy at 17th place with 42.6 million USD, Gareth Bale in 25th place with 35.9 million, Wayne Rooney in 49th place with 26.1 million USD and Andy Murray in 74th place with 23 million USD.

Statistics from Forbes show that this is the first time since 2000 that a player besides golfer Tiger Woods or former boxer Floyd Mayweather has been leading the income rankings. In fact, Woods fell to 12th place, with earnings of just $45 million confirmed over the past 12 months.

Mayweather is at number 16, one position above McIlroy, new athletes earning $7.6 million in bonuses, bringing the income to $35 million.

Only two female athletes in the top 100 are the number 1 American tennis player, Serena Williams ($28.9 million) in 40th and Russian tennis queen Maria Sharapova ($21.9 million) at number 88.

FedEx Cup champion Jordan Speith ($52.8 million) is the fastest advancer of the year, jumping from 85th to 9th. American golfer, 23 year old player next July. He is also the youngest player on the list, younger than Barcelona striker Neymar.

There are 10 different sports and representatives from 23 countries make it into the top 100 best money-making athletes on the planet, where the US (65) is dominated by high incomes in sports such as baseball, rugby and American football.

Forbes figures include all salaries and bonuses from June 1, 2015 through June 1, 2016, with estimated confirmed earnings from sponsorship deals and advertising deals.

Top 20 highest income athletes in the world

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), football, earns $88.0 million

2. Lionel Messi (Argentina), football, income 81.4 million

3. LeBron James (USA), basketball, earning 77.2 million USD

4. Roger Federer (Switzerland), tennis, income 67.8 million USD

5. Kevin Durant (USA), basketball, income 56.2 million USD

6. Novak Djokovic (Serbia), tennis, income 55.8 million USD

7. Cam Newton (USA), American football (rugby) 53.1 million USD

8. Phil Mickelson (USA), golf, income 52.9 million USD

9. Jordan Spieth (USA), golf, earns 52.8 million USD

10. Kobe Bryant (USA), basketball, earning 50.0 million USD

11. Lewis Hamilton (UK), F1 racing, earns $46.0 million

12. Tiger Woods (USA), golf, income 45.3 million USD

13. Eli Manning (USA), American football, income 45.0 million USD

14. Joe Flacco (USA), American football, income 44.5 million USD

15. Tom Brady (USA), American football, income 44.1 million USD

16. Floyd Mayweather (USA), boxing, income 44.0 million

17. Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), golf, earning 42.6 million USD

18. Russell Wilson (USA), American football, income 41.8 million

19. Sebastian Vettel (Germany), F1 racing, earning 41.0 million USD

20. Philip Rivers (USA), American football, income 38.0 million.