Cristiano Ronaldo never settles for second place.
After one of the finest individual spells in football – the Portuguese won two Champions League titles, Euro 2016, La Liga, a Club World Cup, the Ballon d'Or, and Best FIFA Men's Player award in a little over 12 months – the relentless Real Madrid forward was identified as the world's best-paid athlete by Forbes.
The magazine estimated that Ronaldo received $58 million from Los Blancos in wages, and another $35 million from his legion of sponsors which include Nike, Tag Heuer, and Herbalife. His thriving CR7 business, which includes a line of hotels and even branded blankets, is also bringing in some coin.
The 32-year-old stays above LeBron James of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers, who signed a fresh three-year, $100-million contract with the franchise in July. His salary, endorsements, and playoff bonuses amount to $86.2 million.
In third with $80 million is Ronaldo's nemesis in Barcelona, Lionel Messi, with tennis legend Roger Federer ($64 million) and Golden State Warriors small forward Kevin Durant ($60.6 million) rounding off the top five.
Sixty-three of the top 100 athletes ply their trade in the United States, which Forbes credits to the "soaring salaries" in the NBA, MLB, and NFL.
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