Forbes released their annual highest paid athletes list, and we present you the top 10, with three soccer players, two NBA players, one cheating baseball player, one F1 racer, one legendary tennis player and two very rich golfers.
Number 10 – Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Soccer player – 32.3 Million Dollars
Being the best footballer in the world doesn’t mean you’re the highest paid. The third highest paid soccer player in the world, Lionel Messi earns about half his money from Barcelona (16 mil) and the rest from Adidas, Pepsi, Konami and other companies. The Argentinian international had another brilliant year, scoring 53 goals, winning his fifth La Liga title and third Champions League trophy, all before his 24th birthday.
Number 9 – Michael Schumacher, F1 racer for Mercedes – 34 Million Dollars
The temptation to go back and break even more records was just too much for Schumacher, the most decorated driver in Formula 1 history, mostly with Ferrari. Lord knows he doesn’t need the money. So far he hasn’t been exactly a success story with Mercedes (11th so far this season), coming also from DVAG, Jet Set and others.
Number 8 – Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees, Baseball – 35 Million Dollars
Unlike most of the people on this list, Rodriguez, the highest paid baseball player in history, makes almost most of his money from the sport himself. Not an MVP caliber player anymore, but a great agent is never a bad person to have by your side. Endorsements? Rodriguez isn’t exactly the most popular person in the world.
Number 7 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid, Soccer – 38 Million Dollars
He has been finishing behind Lionel Messi and Barcelona for the second year in a row now, but the most expensive soccer player in history is also the highest paid. Almost. Breaking scoring records in Spain this year, the Real Madrid mega star makes a huge chunk of his money from his Nike endorsements. Judging by the social media (facebook, twitter), he is also the most popular athlete in the world.
Number 6 – David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy, Soccer – 40 Million Dollars
Despite being well past his prime and away from the focus of most global soccer fans, David Beckham still makes more money than any other person in the game. He makes 6.5 million dollars from the Galaxy, and despite losing the Pepsi deal, the endorsements from EA and Samsung more than make up for it.
Number 5 – Phil Mickelson, Golf – 46 Million Dollars
The most nonathletic looking sport usually provides big cash – Phil Mickelson is the number two highest paid golfer in the world. The four time Major winner had only one win in 2010 and one so far in 2011 – doesn’t stop him from collecting the big bucks, coming from Amgen and Pfizer among others.
Number 4 – Roger Federer, Tennis – 47 Million Dollars
No longer the best, ranked third in the world while Djokovic and Nadal battle for all the title. Still, the 16 grand slam titles he’s won from 2003-2010 make him the greatest of all time. Numbers don’t lie. His endorsements from Nike, Rolex, Wilson and others make him the highest earner in the Tennis world, even if its mostly off the court.
Number 3 – LeBron James, Miami Heat, Basketball – 48 Million Dollars
Being America’s most hated basketball son for about a year hasn’t stopped LeBron James – he’s off to a great start in the NBA finals, three wins away from his first and uber-coveted title ring. He makes around 15 million dollars from basketball – He also has the most popular jersey in the league, the best selling shoe in the market and also has a stake in Liverpool FC.
Number 2 – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers – 53 Million Dollars
It was a rough year for Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, getting swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA playoffs and recognizing he just can’t win by himself anymore. Getting old sucks. Being the highest paid NBA player makes up for it, at least a bit. His salary is by far the biggest in the NBA (24 million) and his deals with Mercedes, Nike and Turkish Airlines do well to put smiles on the faces of his bank managers.
Number 1 – Tiger Woods, Golf – 75 Million Dollars
Not winning a golf tournament in nearly two years, the scandals, the injuries, the loss of endorsements. All of these haven’t taken down Woods from the top spot. Luckily for him, he’s too much of a cash cow for Nike and EA. Even a slumping and cheating Tiger Woods is great for business it seems.