Football

Ten athletes who made the most money in 2014

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If you’re one of those people sickened by the vast amounts of money earned by the world’s top athletes then you’ve, ahem, probably come to the wrong place.

That’s because we’ve brought you a list - courtesy of Forbes - of the ten athletes who earned the most money during 2014.

All ten of the following figures are mind-blowing - and we’ll let you decide whether or not the people in question deserved to take home such ridiculous amounts over cash between January and December of last year.

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10. Matt Ryan - $43.8m

In at number 10, having earned a whopping $43.8 million of the course of 2014, it’s Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.

That the 29-year-old sneaks into the top 10 will surprise many NFL fans - he’s not a spectacular player, by any means - but he was the sport’s highest-paid player last year after signing a five-year deal worth $103.75 million, which also included a $28 million signing-on bonus and a $12 million option bonus paid in March.

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9. Rafael Nadal - $44.5m

Tennis sensation Rafael Nadal earned the majority of his $44.5 million from endorsements - the biggest of which is with Nike - while his earnings on the court still amounted to a cool $14.5 million.

No Spaniard earned more over the course of 2014 than Nadal, who has won 65 titles in his career to date and earned an astronomical $71 million in prize money in the process.

8. Phil Mickelson - $53.2m

Phil Mickelson might lack the same star quality as others on this list, but the 44-year-old golfer knows how to make cash.

The 2013 British Open winner only earned $5.2 million in winnings last year, but more than made up for that by securing $48 million in endorsements from various sponsors.

7. Roger Federer - $56.2m

Roger Federer, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, is edging closer and closer to retirement but remains one of the world’s highest-paid athletes.

The 33-year-old took home $4.2 million in winnings last year - it wasn’t his best 12 months on court - but the sponsors added another $52 million to his bank account, making it another great year for the Fed Express.

6. Tiger Woods - $61.2m

Tiger Woods turns 40 later this year, but remains one of the highest-profile - and well-paid - athletes in world sport.

Woods took home a reasonable $6.2 million last year - despite missing the Masters for the first time since 1994 - and a further $55 million in endorsements thanks to lucrative deals with the likes of Nike and Rolex.

5. Kobe Bryant - $61.5m

A born winner and one of the best basketball players of his generation, Kobe Bryant earned marginally more - relatively speaking - than Tiger Woods.

The LA Lakers shooting guard, who turns 37 in August, earned $30.5 million in winnings during 2014 - plus a further $31 million in endorsements to bolster the bank balance that little bit further.

4. Lionel Messi - $64.7m

Next on the list it’s arguably the best football - or soccer, for readers in the US - player of all time: Lionel Messi.

The Barcelona star, who featured in a brilliant commercial alongside Kobe Bryant back in 2013, earned the majority of his $64.7 million through earnings on the pitch, which is really quite impressive.

Messi earned $41.7 million on the pitch, plus a further $23 million off it, but wasn’t the highest-paid footballer of 2014…

3. LeBron James - $72.3m

The legendary LeBron James, the finest basketball player of his generation, earned a massive $72.3 million in 2014 thanks largely to his sponsors which include Nike and Samsung.

The 30-year-old took home $53 million in endorsements, and added $19.3 million to his bank balance with his on-court performances.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - $80m

Cristiano Ronaldo will be delighted: he officially earned more money that Lionel Messi in 2014.

It was a fantastic year for the 30-year-old Real Madrid star, who helped his club win their tenth European Cup while also securing the Ballon d’Or for the third time in his career.

Ronaldo earned $52 million on the pitch, and another $28 million from his sponsors.

1. Floyd Mayweather - $105m

But in at number one, having earned a stunning $105 million for two fights, it’s Floyd Mayweather.

The 38-year-old earned nothing - not a single cent - in endorsements, but became the first athlete besides Tiger Woods to earn over $100 million in a single year by taking on - and beating - Canelo Alvarez and Marcos Maidana.

2015 promises to be Floyd’s most lucrative year yet, with the dream super-fight against Manny Pacquiao scheduled for May 2.

Feeling jealous yet?

Topics:
Football
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid
Barcelona

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