4) Lionel Messi (Earnings: $74 million)
Argentine professional soccer player Lionel Andres “Leo” Messi’s main sponsor Adidas launched a Messi icon line of shoes and apparel which has exceeded company sales expectations. This 28-year-old talented player got $9 million a year raise in 2014. He will be earning $50 million annually till 2018.
3) Cristiano Ronaldo (Earnings: $79.5 million)
Currently this Portuguese professional soccer player earns more than $50 million annually in salary and bonuses alone. He has signed mega sponsorship deals with Nike. He has grown his CR7 fashion brand by launching a line of premium shirts and shoes.
2) Manny Pacquiao (Earnings: $160 million)
Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao is a Filipino world champion professional boxer. He was paid $125 million for his fight against Floyd Mayweather. This 36-year-old pugilist’s boxing earnings include $23 million for his November fight against Chris Algieri.
1) Floyd Mayweather (Earnings: $300 million)
American professional boxer Floyd Joy Mayweather, Jr. topped the list again. Undefeated as a professional, this 38-year-old champion is the highest-paid athlete in the world. His $300 million earnings broke the record held by Tiger Woods, who had made $115 million in 2008. The May 2 fight between the two world champions Mayweather and Pacquiao broke many boxing financial records, including total gate ($73 million) and sponsorships ($13 million). This bout might have grossed more than $600 million. Even though he has shunned endorsement deals, he signed with FanDuel, Burger King and Hublot. He is the sixth richest athlete of all-time.
What are your thoughts about so much money being paid to athletes?