You see them every day on TV in the world's most famous sporting arenas, pushing past the boundaries of human endurance and achievement - but have you ever stopped to wonder just how much their skills are valued in salary terms? We're talking about the world's top athletes and sports stars of course, doing what they do best on the world stage and (we're assuming) raking in shedloads of cash at the same time.
While international footballers' salaries are rarely a secret (thank you tabloids) it's hard to know for certain what other types of athletes make on a regular basis - particularly when extra resources such as sponsorships and endorsements are thrown into the mix. That's why when Forbes recently published its list of the world's top 100 highest earning athletes, we were curious to see who was on it, and at what position. And of course, if we thought they were worth the astronomical sums they seem to bring in.
One thing's for sure though, love 'em or hate 'em, these are athletes at the very top of their game, and if we ever want to fill our bank accounts with anything close to the same amount that they earn, we either need to start working on our fitness, or buying as many lottery tickets as we can lay our hands on. After looking at what the world's top 5 highest-paid sports stars are netting this year, we're going for Option B.
This was a surprise to us - seeing a tennis player ranked in the world's top 5 best-paid athletes. Not because Federer isn't a phenomenally gifted tennis player (hello, seven Wimbledon Men's Singles titles!) but simply because we hadn't realised tennis was that lucrative a sport. Turns out we'd forgotten about endorsements though - because after winning $9 million on the courts, Federer has raked in the rest of his $67 million paycheque through sponsorships alone! Boasting ties with luxury brands such as Rolex, Credit Suisse, Mercedes-Benz and Nike, to name a few, Federer's endorsement deals bring him approximately $58 million in earnings each year, and judging by his continued success, his contracts show no sign of coming to an end soon. We don't know about you, but we're thinking we should have paid more attention in tennis practice.
Even if you're not a football fan, chances are you've heard of Lionel Messi, Argentina's ball-kicking golden boy. This four-time FIFA player of the year winner earns a massive $73.8 million annually from football, with an astounding $51.8 million coming solely from endorsements through companies such as Turkish Airlines, EA Sports, Adidas and Lays. We have to say, no-one's ever paid us $51.8 million for eating a potato chip. Then again, we don't hold the record for most goals scored in a calendar year, or most hat tricks scored. So there's that.
Of course Ronaldo had to be on this list. With earnings of $79.6 annually, it'd be weird if he wasn't - particularly considering that with 102 million Facebook fans and 35 million Twitter followers, he's widely believed to be the world's most popular football player. We can't even imagine keeping up with that much social media traffic, but we're sure his $50 million salary and numerous endorsement deals more than make up for it.
Possibly the Philippines' most valuable export, Manny Pacquiao is a millionaire 160 times over at the age of just 36, thanks to his skill with a pair of boxing gloves. His paycheque for his fight against Mayweather this year was a colossal $125 million alone - not even counting lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Footlocker and Nestle's Butterfinger, to name a few. Whether you're a boxing fan or not, one thing's for sure - the Pacman is gobbling up huge payouts left, right and centre!
With a paycheque large enough to eradicate third world debt, Floyd Mayweather officially tops the rankings as the highest-paid athlete on the planet, raking in a gigantic $300 million in the space of a year. We don't know who you had as your top pick, but if you'd known that his 2 May fight against Pacquaio had an expected revenue of $600 million in total, Mayweather would have been a foregone conclusion. A controversial choice for some, Mayweather is laughing all the way to the bank, having broken Tiger Woods' previous earning record of $115 million. We guess that's what you call a knock-out.