Will O'Callaghan
Will O'Callaghan

21.33 29 May 2020


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Tennis legend Roger Federer has become the world's highest paid athlete for the first time in his illustrious career, according to Forbes.

The 20 Grand Slam champion earned over 100-million dollars in the last 12-months, including 100-million in sponsorships and endorsements.

Football players Leo Messi (105m), Cristiano Ronaldo (105m) and Neymar (95.5m) and NBA star LeBron James (88.2m) complete the top five.

Basketball players Steph Curry and Kevin Durrant, NFL quarter-backs Kirk Cousins and Carson Wentz and golf legend Tiger Woods are inside the top ten with lineal boxing world heavyweight champion in 11th.

Rory McIlroy was the highest earning Irish athlete at 52-million dollars while former UFC world champion Conor McGregor was the highest grossing MMA fighter at 49-million.

"The coronavirus pandemic triggered salary cuts for soccer stars Messi and Ronaldo, clearing the way for a tennis player to rank as the world's highest-paid athlete for the first time," said Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor at Forbes.

"Roger Federer is the perfect pitchman for companies, resulting in an unparalleled endorsement portfolio of blue-chip brands worth $100m a year for the tennis great."

The 100 highest-paid athletes earned a combined $3.6 billion pre-tax this year, which is 9 per cent below the 2019 figure, representing the first year-on-year decline since 2016.


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