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World's highest-paid athletes 2016

Photos logoPhotos 9/06/2016

Forbes magazine has released its list of the highest-paid male and female athletes for 2016. We look at the top five names from both categories.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

© AFP/Getty Images

2016 earnings: $88 million

2015 earnings: $79.6 million

The three-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner has successfully broken the 50-goal mark for six seasons in a row for Real Madrid. Ranked as the club’s all-time leading scorer, his contract with Real Madrid is worth over $50 million a year. Some of his sponsors include Nike, Tag Heuer, Sacoor Brothers and Monster.

2. Lionel Messi

© Gustau Nacarino/Reuters

2016 earnings: $81.4 million

2015 earnings: $73.8 million

Messi has won FIFA's player of the year award five times. Some of his achievements include most goals scored for Barcelona and also in a calendar year. His contract with Barcelona includes many bonuses for such feats, which add to his overall wealth. Adidas is one of his main sponsors.

3. LeBron James

© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2016 earnings: $77.2 million

2015 earnings: $64.8 million

Cleveland Cavaliers’s forward James has won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. He created history when he reached his sixth straight NBA Finals in 2016. In 2015, Nike signed James to the first lifetime contract in the company's 44-year history.

4. Roger Federer

© Julian Finney/Getty Images

2016 earnings: $67.8 million

2015 earnings: $67 million

The 17-time Grand Slam champion has earned $60 million in earnings from endorsements and appearance fees. Federer has long-term deals with several top brands such as Nike, Rolex, Mercedes-Benz and Credit Suisse. In his 18-year long career, he has won $98 million in prize money.

5. Kevin Durant

© Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo

2016 earnings: $56.2 million

2015 earnings: $54.1 million

Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant has an average of 27.4 career points per game, the best among active players and third all-time. Last year, Durant launched his own underwear line in partnership with Neff and Foot Locker. Some of his sponsors include Nike, 2K Sports, BBVA, Orange Leaf, Sparkling Ice, Beats and The Players Tribune.

(2016 figures as of June 8; 2015 figures as of June 12)

1. Serena Williams

© Michael Dodge/Getty Images

2016 earnings: $28.9 million

2015 earnings: $24.6 million

In 2015, Williams won three Grand Slams – Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, and was rewarded with lucrative bonuses. Her career prize money of $77.6 million is almost twice as much as any other female athlete. Some of her sponsors include Nike, Pepsi and JPMorgan Chase.

2. Maria Sharapova

© Alastair Grant/AP Photo

2016 earnings: $21.9 million

2015 earnings: $29.7 million

Sharapova continues to be one of the highest-earning female athletes, despite being in the middle of a doping controversy. On June 8, 2016, she was handed a two-year ban by the International Tennis Federation for failing a drugs test during the Australian Open tournament in January. One of her main sponsors, Nike, recently announced its decision to continue its sponsorship with the Russian athlete, despite the doping charges. 

3. Ronda Rousey

© Rob Latour/Invision/AP

2016 earnings: $14 million

2015 earnings: $6.5 million

The mix martial artist faced a stunning defeat by Holly Holm in November last year but struck gold with endorsement deals with brands such as Reebok, MetroPCS, Bud Light, Buffalo Jeans and Fanatics. In February 2016, Rousey appeared as one of the three cover athletes on Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.

4. Danica Patrick

© Terry Renna/AP Photo

2016 earnings: $13.9 million

2015 earnings: $13.9 million

In August 2015, Nature's Bakery decided to sponsor Patrick for the 2016 season after GoDaddy stepped out. Some of her personal sponsors include Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Nationwide and Tissot.

5. Agnieszka Radwanska

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

2016 earnings: $10.2 million

2015 earnings: $6 million

The Polish tennis player and world number 3 has lucrative deals with Lotto, Babolat, Lexus, and Rado, thanks to her brilliant performances in 2015, including winning the WTA Final.

(2016 figures as of June 7, 2015 figures as of Aug 13)

Click here for the full list of female athletes.
Click here for the full list of male athletes.

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