This is the first time Real Madrid star has been named the world’s highest-earning athlete, becoming only the second individual from a team sport to lead the Forbes rankings since they began in 1990.
The Real Madrid super star, who turns 32 on Sunday, climbed to the top of the list by earning $88 million in 2016, ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi in second place with $81m and NBA star LeBron James in third with $77m.
“With Mayweather hanging up his gloves and Woods hampered by injuries, there is an opening at the top. Filling the gap is the biggest star in the biggest sport on the planet,” Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes wrote.
Barcelona star Neymar in 21st place ($37.5m), Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic at 23 ($37.4m), Madrid’s Gareth Bale at 25 ($35.9m) and Wayne Rooney of United at 49 ($26.1m) were other footballers who appeared on the list.