Cristiano Ronaldo Retains Position As World’s Highest Paid Athlete

Forbes has named Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo world’s highest-paid athlete for the second straight year.  CR7 banked $93 million over the past 12 months to retain the crown of the world’s highest-paid athlete for the second time in a row.

Cristiano Ronaldo was named FIFA’s best player in the world for the fourth time, scored his 600th career goal and secured a contract extension with Real that will pay more than $50 million annually for the next four years.

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He inked a lifetime deal with Nike worth upward of $1 billion, and on Sunday he led Real to a second straight Champions League title, making Real the first team to win the Champions League titles back-to-back.

Cristiano Ronaldo earned $58 million from Real in salary and bonuses, while sponsors kicked in another $35 million. The Portuguese forward has endorsements deals with Nike, Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Abbott Labs and others.

Meanwhile, his growing line of CR7 branded products now include shoes, underwear, fragrance, jeans and a line of hotels. Sponsors also get a good bang for their buck from Ronaldo thanks to his 277 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

His 121 million Facebook fans are more than any other person in the world. Ronaldo posts actively with mentions or logos of his sponsors displayed.

His posts highlighting Nike generated $500 million in media value alone for the sportswear giant during 2016, according to Hookit, which tracks the social engagement of athletes.

Also See: CR7 Celebrates Champions League Win With New Hair Cut

Second on Forbes’ highest paid athlete is NBA star, LeBron James.

LeBron James entered the NBA in 2003 out of high school and within three years established himself as the most dominant force in the game. He’s racked up four MVP awards and 11 first-time All-NBA selections. But it was not until the 2016-17 season that James had the NBA’s top salary.

He signed a three-year, $100 million contract extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers in July after leading the club to their first NBA title in franchise history a month earlier.

His $31 million salary this season made him just the third NBA player after Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant to earn $30 million. The salary bump pushed his total earnings, including endorsements and playoff bonuses, to $86.2 million.

Rounding out the top five highest-paid athletes are Lionel Messi ($80 million), Roger Federer ($64 million) and Kevin Durant ($60.6 million). The top five is the same as last year with only James and Messi swapping places.

The 100 highest-paid sports stars earned a cumulative $3.11 billion over the past 12 months, down 1% from last year. But the threshold to make the list rose $600,000 to $21.4 million.

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Here is Forbes Top 10 Highest Paid Athletes

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