Professional athletes are far more than just competitors who attempt to win championships and titles. They are celebrities, and the very best of the best are beloved and also hated by millions upon millions of fans located all around the world. The men who are the highest paid athletes in the world, per the information that was released by Forbes in the spring of 2016, have done well to expand their names and their brands beyond the playing surfaces where they earned their statuses and their millions of dollars. Each of the individuals mentioned in this piece are businessmen who have been successful outside of the world of sports.
It should not surprise anybody reading this piece that the highest paid athletes in the world over the past year are the two greatest players in world football/soccer. That may not, however, always be the case, as National Basketball Association players are starting to catch up due to the salaries they earn from teams and also via the millions of dollars that they are able to make via endorsement contracts. With media rights deals and team salary caps increasing, we may not be all that far off from knowing that the highest paid athlete in the world is a player in the NBA.
10 Kobe Bryant: $50 Million
9 Jordan Spieth: $52.8 Million
8 Phil Mickelson: $52.9 Million
7 Cam Newton: $53.1 Million
6 Novak Djokovic: $55.8 Million
5 Kevin Durant: $56.2 Million
4 Roger Federer: $67.8 Million
3 LeBron James: $77.2 Million
2 Lionel Messi: $81.4 Million
1 Cristiano Ronaldo: $88 Million
Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? It is the argument that will continue long after both men have retired as active players. As it pertains to making money over the past year, Ronaldo topped Messi this time around. Ronaldo is far more than arguably the best footballer of his generation. He is a spokesman, a model and a celebrity who draws massive crowds wherever he travels. Rumors continue to swirl that Ronaldo could one day make his way to North America and Major League Soccer in an attempt to expand his brand. That decision could ultimately be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
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