Cristiano Ronaldo first footballer to top Forbes rich list of highest-earning athletes

Lionel Messi in second place, with Britain's Lewis Hamilton 11th

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 27:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid gives the thumbs up during a Real Madrid training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League
Image: Cristiano Ronaldo earned $88m in the last 12 months, according to Forbes

Cristiano Ronaldo has been listed as the highest-paid athlete in the world by American business magazine Forbes.

The Real Madrid forward is the first footballer to ever top the annual list of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes, having earned $88m in the last 12 months - $6.6m more than Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who is second.

There are five Britons in the top 100, led by Lewis Hamilton in 11th on $46m, with Rory McIlroy at 17 ($42.6m), Gareth Bale at 25 ($35.9m), Wayne Rooney at 49 ($26.1m) and Andy Murray at 74 ($23m).

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 29: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrates his win on the podium during the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at
Image: Lewis Hamilton (11th) is the highest-paid Briton

Endorsements make up £32m of Ronaldo's earnings and this is the first year since 2000 that someone other than Tiger Woods or Floyd Mayweather has led the way.

Indeed, Woods has dropped down to No 12, with his $274,000 by far the least amount in terms of salary and winnings. Fortunately for the 14-time major winner, he garnered $45m in endorsements in the last 12 months.

Tiger Woods is facing a frustrating wait for full fitness
Image: Tiger Woods has fallen to 12th after winning a relatively paltry $274,000 in prize money in the last year

Mayweather is No 16, one place above McIlroy, who added $7.6m winnings to his $35m worth of endorsements.

There are only two women on the list - Serena Williams ($28.9m) at No 40, and Maria Sharapova ($21.9) at No 88.

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FedEx Cup winner Jordan Speith ($52.8m) was the biggest climber of the year, moving up from No 85 to No 9. The American, who is 23 in July, is also the youngest on the list, ahead of Barcelona forward Neymar.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03:  Serena Williams of the United States celebrates victory during the Ladies Singles semi final match against Kiki Bertens of Nether
Image: Serena Williams (40) is one of only two women on the list

There are 10 different sports and 23 countries represented on the list, which is dominated by Americans (65) thanks to soaring salaries in baseball, basketball and American Football.

Forbes figures include all salaries and bonuses earned between June 1 2015 and June 1 2016, with endorsement incomes an estimate of sponsorship deals, appearance fees and licensing income through conversations with industry insiders. 

Forbes top-earning athletes 2016

Name Sport Salary + endorsements ($m)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Por) Football 88.0
Lionel Messi (Arg) Football 81.4
LeBron James (USA) Basketball 77.2
Roger Federer (Sui) Tennis 67.8
Kevin Durant (USA) Basketball 56.2
Novak Djokovic (Srb) Tennis 55.8
Cam Newton (USA) American football 53.1
Phil Mickelson (USA) Golf 52.9
Jordan Spieth (USA) Golf 52.8
Kobe Bryant (USA) Basketball 50.0
Lewis Hamilton (Eng) Formula One 46.0
Tiger Woods (USA) Golf 45.3
Eli Manning (USA) American football 45.0
Joe Flacco (USA) American football 44.5
Tom Brady (USA) American football 44.1
Floyd Mayweather (USA) Boxing 44.0
Rory McIlroy (NIrl) Golf 42.6
Russell Wilson (USA) American football 41.8
Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Formula One 41.0
Philip Rivers (USA) American football 38.0

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