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The 10 Highest-Paid Athletes of 2016, According to Forbes

LeBron James and Roger Federer are close to the top, but neither is the king of the world.

$3.15 billion.

From June 1, 2015, to June 1, 2016, the 100 highest-earning athletes collectively took in $3.15 billion worldwide between annual salary and endorsement deals, according to a new ranking from Forbes.

Think about that. That type of dough could buy you your own professional sports team—or, you know, 15 million FitBit Blazes.

Here are the top ten athletes overall:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $88M
  2. Lionel Messi – $81.4M
  3. LeBron James – $77.2M
  4. Roger Federer – $67.8M
  5. Kevin Durant – $56.2M
  6. Novak Djokovic – $55.8M
  7. Cam Newton – $53.1M
  8. Phil Mickelson – $52.9M
  9. Jordan Spieth – $52.8M
  10. Kobe Bryant – $50M

Ronaldo and Messi picked up from where they left off last year, continuing to both dominate soccer games and capitalize on their increasing global marketability and popularity, with only LeBron, KD, and Cam Newton coming close among American athletes of the "big four" sports. The two La Liga stars each accumulated over $8 million more than they did last year—$79.6 million and $73.8 million, respectively—when they earned more than any player of the four major American sports.

4 Soccer Workouts Ronaldo and Messi Might Do >>>

Even more incredible is their power on social media. Ronaldo generates a whopping $176 million for his sponsors by generating interest among his 214.7 million social media followers, which makes his five-year, $13 million contract with the giant sports company look like a real bargain. No athlete is even close to that kind of leverage—Lionel Messi, who has 130.5 million followers, generates only $19.3 million in earned value with his posts.

Next year, Ronaldo and Messi will look to cap off a three-peat. However, the Summer Olympics might put a wrench into that quest. If the likable and extremely marketable Usain Bolt break his previous 100-meter dash record, then its not inconceivable Bolt sprints to the top of the list and snags the top spot.

Check out the full rankings of the top 100 athletes at


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