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SHOW ME THE MONEY: Ronaldo tops list of highest paid players anew

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo led the list of highest paid sports celebrities for the second straight year, according to Forbes’ latest release.

The 32-year-old attacker had a tumultuous 2016 that saw him win the Champions League with Madrid, Euro 2016 with Portugal, and a fourth Best Player in the World award.

A huge bulk of his $93 million earnings last year came from his salary with Madrid, who will pay him around $50 million annually through his 36th birthday.

He has a lifetime deal with Nike that could earn him around $1 billion, and has his own line of merchandise that includes shoes, underwear, perfumes and socks.

Ronaldo’s earnings from 2016 saw a $5million increase from 2015, when his $88 million earnings also topped the list.

Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James follows Ronaldo in the list, with $86.2 million in earnings last 2016. With his $31 million salary, James is only the third player to breach the $30-million mark after icons Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, but its James’ endorsements which made him the second highest paid athlete.

James also has a lifetime deal with Nike, which sponsors his line of shoes. He is also in deals with Coca-Cola, Beats by Dre, Kia Motor and has his own varied investments which are handled by his friends and his business partners.

Rounding out the Top Five are Lionel Messi ($80m), Roger Federer ($64m), and Kevin Durant ($60.6m).


NBA stars flood the Top 100 with 32 basketballers, including four in the top 10.

Tennis’ Federer leads the endorsement side of earnings with $58 million in endorsement fees.

Rory McIlroy leads golfers with $50m, while Indiana’s Andrew Luck tops the NFL stars with $50m, thanks to his contract that saw him earn $47m.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, in 10th, leads the auto-racers with $46m, and three-time triple winner Usain Bolt leads the track sport with $34.2m.

MLB’s best paid player Clayton Kershaw is 28th in the list with $33.3m, while Conor McGregor is the lone martial artist in the list and Canelo Alvarez leads the boxers with $28.5m.

Women’s number 2 Serena Williams is the only female to reach the Top 100 and placed 51st with her $27m.