In Brief

Sport rich list 2010-2019: ‘Money’ Mayweather takes No.1 spot ahead of Ronaldo and Messi

According to Forbes the American boxing icon earned $915m during the decade

Forbes has published its list of the highest-paid sports stars from 2010 to 2019 and the usual suspects can be found at the top of the money tree.

In No.1 spot for the past decade is Floyd Mayweather, the American boxing icon who held multiple world titles in five weight classes and has an unbeaten professional record of 50 wins from 50 bouts. 

Mayweather, who is nicknamed “Money”, raked in $915m (£698.3m) from 2010 to 2019. His two mega-fights - against Manny Pacquiao in 2015 and Conor McGregor in 2017 - earned him $500m (£381.7m) during the lucrative ten years.

According to Forbes Mayweather made $115m (£87.8m) more than any other sports star during the decade “without collecting a single paycheck from a team owner or an eye-popping sponsorship deal”. 

In November it was reported that the 42-year-old is planning on coming out of retirement in 2020. 

Football rivals rank highly

Second and third on the list behind boxing icon Mayweather are football stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi

Juventus and Portugal captain Ronaldo amassed $800m (£610.5m) from 2010 to 2019 while his great rival Messi, who plays for Barcelona and Argentina, pocketed $750m (£572.4m). 

In its list of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2019, Forbes reported that Messi took the No.1 spot ahead of Ronaldo after earning $127m (£99.9m) from June 2018 to June 2019.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have both won five Ballon D’or awards

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Serena the highest-paid woman

Making up the top ten list for the decade are NBA stars LeBron James and Kevin Durant, tennis icon Roger Federer, golf’s Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, boxer Manny Pacquiao and Britain’s six-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.

American tennis star Serena Williams is the only woman in the top-40 highest-paid athletes of the decade. The 23-time grand slam champion earned $215m (£164.2).

How Forbes published its sport rich list 

The magazine explains: “Annual rankings of top-earning athletes looks at salaries, prize money, bonuses, endorsements, appearance fees and licensing income. The top ten for the decade, which includes a pair from boxing, soccer, basketball and golf, collectively made $6.1bn [£4.6bn]. 

“No baseball, [American] football or [ice] hockey players made the cut. We also excluded earnings for athletes during their retirement years, keeping NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan out of the top 10.”

Top ten highest-paid athletes of the decade

  • 1. Floyd Mayweather (boxing): $915m (£698.3m) 
  • 2. Cristiano Ronaldo (football): $800m (£610.5m) 
  • 3. Lionel Messi (football): $750m (£572.4m) 
  • 4. LeBron James (NBA): $680m (£518.9m) 
  • 5. Roger Federer (tennis): $640m (£488.3m) 
  • 6. Tiger Woods (golf): $615m (£469.2m) 
  • 7. Phil Mickelson (golf): $480m (£366.2m) 
  • 8. Manny Pacquiao (boxing): $435m (£331.9m) 
  • 9. Kevin Durant (NBA): $425m (£324.2m) 
  • 10. Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1): $400m (£305.2m)

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