Forbes top 100 athletes: Entrant Mayweather at top, Ronaldo third behind Messi

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Floyd Mayweather is a new entrant to the Forbes list of world’s top 100 highest paid athletes. He has displaced Cristiano Ronaldo at the top with Messi coming into the second position to relegate the Portuguese and Real Madrid football icon to the third position.

Forbes’ most interesting and intriguing compilation of sports stars around the world – World’s highest paid athlete list – has been released for the year 2018. Floyd Mayweather has claimed the top spot with $285 million professional earnings. Mayweather has made an unprecedented big stride to head the chart of global elite professional athletes. His name did not figure in the highest paid 100 athletes last year.

Argentine and Barcelona star Lionel Messi is the highest earning footballer around the globe. Messi, after climbing one spot from last year, is now the second highest paid athlete with total annual earnings at $111 million.

Ronaldo has been relegated to the third spot, from the first he held last year, behind Messi with annual earnings estimated at $108 million. Ronaldo, who reigned at the top spot last year, has netted $47 million from endorsement deals which is the highest among the footballers around the world.

The list, which is dominated by 39 basketballers, includes 3 athletes from motorsports, 14 from baseball, 4 from boxing, 18 from American football, 5 from golf, 9 from football, 4 from tennis, and 1 each from track and field, cricket and mixed martial arts (MMA).

Surprisingly, not a single female athlete has made it to the list for the first time ever since Forbes has introduced the concept of rating world’s highest-earning 100 athletes.

Virat Kohli is the only cricketer and the only Indian in the list. Known to the best hard-hitting batsman in the world, Kohli has jumped from 89th position last year to 83rd this time. The professional earnings of this well-known brand icon in India include $4 million from professional salaries and $20 million from endorsements.

Among the top ten, Roger Federer ($77.2 million) at the seventh spot is the highest earning tennis star. NBA star LeBron James who plays for Cleveland Cavaliers, at the sixth spot, is the highest earning basketball player with $85.5 million annual payouts from professional salaries and endorsement deals.

It is interesting to note that Conor McGregor, the only one representing MMA among the top 100 athletes, has made a humungous stride and the biggest jump among all other athletes. The 29-year-old Irish UFC champion has jumped from 24th spot last year to the fourth spot in the 2018 list sharing his name among other top guns in the top ten. His annual earnings have been estimated at $99 million.

Click here to access the full list of rankings.