Cristiano Ronaldo just became the world's highest-paid sports star

Cristiano Ronaldo NikeInstagram/@cristianoRonaldo’s Nike endorsement alone pays $13 million a year.

Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is 2016’s highest-paid athlete of any sport, according to a report by Forbes.

Thanks to the retirement of boxer Floyd Mayweather and injuries hampering the career of golfer Tiger Woods, Ronaldo took the top spot with annual earnings of $88 million (£61 million).

It’s only the second time an athlete from a team sport has topped Forbes’ list since it began ranking sports earnings in 1990 — the first being basketball player Michael Jordan.

Ronaldo has commercial endorsements to thank for getting him the top spot — they make up a massive $32 million (£22 million) chunk of his income.

As well as a $13 million (£9 million) a year contract with sportswear giant Nike, Ronaldo also has deals with Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Pokerstars, Clear Shampoo — as well as his own range of cologne and menswear.

Part of the attraction companies have for Ronaldo is his huge social media presence: 43 million followers on Twitter and 112 million “likes” on Facebook. Forbes estimates that all of this adds up to $176 million (£122 million) in media value for all his promotional posts.

There’s also, of course, his Real Madrid contract, which pays $50 million (£35 million) a year in salary and bonuses. Ronaldo’s record for the club suggests it was money well-spent — since joining in 2009 he’s scored 260 goals and helped win the team two Champions Leagues.

Spain is obviously good to its footballers: Lionel Messi of Barcelona came second on the list, with earnings of just over $81 million (£56 million) while racing driver Lewis Hamilton — the UK’s highest entry — just missed out on the top 10 with $46 million (£32 million)

Here’s Forbes’ rundown on the top ten earning athletes of the last 12 months:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo — Football $88m (£60.6m)
  2. Lionel Messi — Football $81.4m (£56.1m)
  3. LeBron James — Basketball $77.2m (£53.2m)
  4. Roger Federer — Tennis $67.8m (£46.7m)
  5. Kevin Durant — Basketball £56.2m (£38.7m)
  6. Novak Djokovic — Tennis $55.8m (£38.46m)
  7. Cam Newton — American Football $53.1m (£36.6m)
  8. Phil Mickelson — Golf $52.9m (£36.46m)
  9. Jordan Spieth — Golf $52.8m (£36.39m)
  10. Kobe Bryant — Basketball $50m (£34.46m)

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