Cristiano Ronaldo, who celebrates his 32nd birthday on Sunday, has been rated as the highest payed sportsman in the world by Forbes. He is thus the first footballer to be rated by Forbes at the top of the list and is followed by his arch rival and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
The Portuguese captain reportedly earned nearly $88 million in 2016, the year in which he won the Champions League and Club World Cup with Real Madrid and the Euro 2016 with Portugal in addition to winning a fourth Ballon d’Or. Lionel Messi, on the other hand, earned $81.4 million in the same year.
On the other hand, Ronaldo and Messi are the only two football players to have broken into the top 20. Messi’s Barcelona team mate Neymar, with $37.5 million comes 21st in the list while Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is at 23rd with $37.4 million.
Lionel Messi is followed by American basketball player LeBron James at third with a total earning of $77.2 million. Tennis great and current Australian Open champion Roger Federer comes fourth with $67.8 million. Basketball player Kevin Durant is fifth on the list with $56.2 million for the year.
Barcelona had recently indicated that they would be giving Messi a contract extension that will make him the highest paid football player in the world. Messi currently earns $53.4 million by way of salary which, according to the Forbes’ list, is lesser than Ronaldo by $2.6 million.
It is worth noting that the two are not the highest paid football players in the world. Welsh winger Gareth Bale’s wages at Real Madrid and Brazilian Hulk’s figures are reportedly higher than that of Messi. Cristiano Ronaldo has the third highest wages while Oscar and Carlos Tevez are second and first with their mammoth salaries at China.