Sunday 23 July 2017

Revealed: Rory McIlroy makes top 20 in Forbes magazine's list for highest-earning athletes in 2016

Rory McIlroy is joined on the rich list by Tom Brady and Cristiano Ronaldo
Rory McIlroy is joined on the rich list by Tom Brady and Cristiano Ronaldo

Mark Critchley

Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten his long-standing rival Lionel Messi to be named the world’s highest-earning athlete in 2016.

The Real Madrid forward tops Forbes magazine’s list for the first time, having earned $88million (£70.6m) last year, up from $80m (£64.2m) in 2015. Messi, meanwhile, follows in second-place with his income totalling $81m ($65m).

Since the list’s inception in 1990, athletes from individual sports have tended to top the list. Ronaldo is only the second athlete from a team sport to head the rankings, after basketball icon Michael Jordan.

LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers small forward, is third in the list having earned $77.2m (£61.9m), while tennis’ Roger Federer ($67.8m/£54.4m) and the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant ($56.2m/£45.1m) complete the top five.

Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather, two athletes who have dominated Forbes’ rankings in the recent past, placed 12th and 16th after relatively inactive years on the golf course and in the boxing ring respectively.

Alongside Ronaldo, Messi is the only other footballer to place in Forbes’ top 20. His team-mate Neymar ranks joint-21st with Rafael Nadal, who both earned $37.5m (£30.1m).

Zlatan Ibrahimovic follows in 23rd-place ($37.4m/£30m) and Wales international Gareth Bale ($35.9m/£28.8m) completes the top 25.

TOP 20

20. Philip Rivers

Earnings: $38m

19. Sebastian Vettell

Earnings: $41m

18. Russell Wilson

Earnings: $41.8m

17. Rory McIlroy

Earnings: $42.6m

16. Floyd Mayweather

Earnings: $44m

15. Tom Brady

Earnings: $44.1m

14. Joe Flacco

Earnings: $44.5m

13. Eli Manning

Earnings: $45m

11. Lewis Hamilton

Earnings: $46m

10. Kobe Bryant

Earnings: $50m

9. Jordan Spieth

Earnings: $52.8m

8. Phil Mickelson

Earnings: $52.9m

7. Cam Newton

Earnings: $53.1m

6. Novak Djokovic

Earnings: $55.8m

5. Kevin Durant

Earnings: $56.2m

4. Roger Federer

Earnings: $67.8m

3. LeBron James

Earnings: $77.2m

2. Lionel Messi

Earnings: $81.4m

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Earnings: $88m

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