3. Cristiano Ronaldo (football)
Salary/Earnings: $52,6 million
Endorsements: $27 million
One of the world’s best football players, the Portuguese wizard Cristiano Ronaldo, representing his native Portugal as well as the Spanish giants Real Madrid, lands at number 3 on the Forbes‘ most highly paid sportsmen of 2015. Real Madrid pays a substantial fee of $52,6 million annually in order to secure the services of the powerful winger.
Ronaldo is also acknowledged as a fashion icon, as he bases his looks on a strong-yet-well kept man. Ronaldo, born in February of 1985, is a two-time winner of FIFA’s Ballon d’Or award, both in 2013 and 2014, given to the best player on the planet.
Best player of all-time?
In September 2015, Ronaldo scored his 500th senior goal for club and country. Many pundits and critics insist that Ronaldo is already one of the best players of all time, however lack of international success with Portugal has put a halt on his crowning.
“ Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer ”
Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one La Liga, one FA Cup, two Football League Cups, two Copas del Rey, one FA Community Shield, one Supercopas de Espana, two UEFA Champions League titles, one UEFA Super Cup and two FIFA Club World Cups.
He is already regarded as the best Portuguese player of all time, a spot beforehand occupied by Eusebio. At the time of his move from Manchester United to Real Madrid, Ronaldo was the most expensive player in the world, his transfer being worth $132 million. His buyout clause assigned to him by his club Real Madrid, is set at €1 billion.
In September 2015, Ronaldo became the all-time top goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League with 82 goals, and in October 2015 he became Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer.
2. Manny Pacquaio (boxing)
Salary/Earnings: $148 million
Endorsements: $12 million
Despite losing the ‘Fight of the Century‘, one of the biggest PPV events in modern history, no tears are shed in the Pacquiao household. The Filipino boxer netted an astronomical $148 million after all was said and done, and has blamed the loss to a torn rotator cuff he had suffered in training camp. Pacquaio has challenged Floyd Mayweather Jr multiple times in the past five years, but the two top of the World’s top boxers could not agree on the terms up until 2014.
Pacquaio ultimately ended up on the losing side, but he is still an acclaimed winner both inside and outside the boxing ring. At the age of 32, Pacquaio was elected to the Philippine House of Representatives. He has also featured as a singer, actor and a basketball player, making him an all-round icon and one of the most popular people in the Philippines.
Pacquaio’s record currently stands at 57 wins, 6 losses and 2 draws, making him one of the best fighters in history. And he still hasn’t said his final word as he is expected to continue his boxing career.
1. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (Boxing)
Salary/Earnings: $285 million
Endorsements: $15 million
Mayweather is a now retired American professional boxer, widely recognized as one of the most talented defensive boxers in history of the sport. Mayweather has been in the spotlight for the majority of 2015., mainly for the highly anticipated ‘Fight of the Century’ or ‘the Battle for Greatness’ with Manny Pacquaio, that took place on May 2nd.
Floyd took home an estimated amount of $285 million, alongside 15 million in endorsements. Mayweather is the five-division world champion, retiring with a 49-0 fighting record, making him one of the best fighters to ever lace up a pair of gloves. His last fight was that against Andre Berto, which ended up in an unanimous-decision victory for Mayweather, Jr. „I’ve accomplished everything, there’s nothing else to accomplish“ – Mayweather said.
Best business decision
That concluded a unique career that took a ‘turn for the profitable’ when Mayweather exercised an opt-out clause in his contract with his then promotion agency Top Rank, that let him pay $750,000 in exchange for getting out of his promotion contract.
Mayweather’s vision of representing himself turned out to be the best business decision he had ever made, especially after he signed a six-fight deal with Showtime. This launched Mayweather to a path of becoming a billionaire. Outside the ring, Mayweather has been known for flashing his possessions, luxurious cars, real estate, jewelry and dollar bills, as well as numerous domestic violence reports, which have affected his image in public, marking him as one of the bad guys of sports.