World’s highest-paid athletes: Cristiano Ronaldo tops Forbes 2016 list

Story highlights

Portugal captain's earnings put at $88 million

Real Madrid star tops list for the first time ever

Lionel Messi in second spot with $81.4m

CNN  — 

He’s just won the Champions League with Real Madrid – and now Cristiano Ronaldo can celebrate being the world’s highest-paid athlete, too.

Forbes estimates that Portugal captain Ronaldo, who will be one of the biggest stars at Euro 2016 in France, earned a staggering $88 million (£60.4m) last year.

That puts him clear at the top of the American business magazine’s annual compilation of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes – and it means he is again ahead of Barcelona rival Lionel Messi, with the pair having finished third and fourth last year.

Argentina’s Messi earned $81.4m this year as soccer’s two biggest stars rung the changes at the pinnacle of the list.

It is the first time since 2000 that either golfer Tiger Woods – who drops to 12th after a wretched run of poor form and injury problems – or boxer Floyd Mayweather has not headed the table.

READ MORE: The man behind Ronaldo’s millions

The Forbes data reveals that the top 100 athletes earned an amazing $3.15 billion between them over the past 12 months.

That eye-watering figure actually represents a slight decrease from last year, when the overall $3.2 billion tally was boosted by the $460m fight between Mayweather – nicknamed Money – and Manny Pacquiao.

It was the most lucrative bout in boxing history.

Tennis titans Roger Federer ($67.8m) and Novak Djokovic ($55.8m) retain their top 10 spots in a list that includes stars from 10 different sports.

READ MORE: Djokovic says French Open ‘most beautiful moment’ of career

The 100 highest-paid athletes come from 23 countries, with a majority of them – 65 – Americans.

Amongst those is golfer Jordan Spieth ($52.8m), whose rise from 85th place last year to ninth this time makes him the biggest mover on the list after a year that