Top 10 richest sportsmen on the planet

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Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of becoming one of the ten richest sportsmen on the planet after reportedly agreeing a lucrative new Mercedes contract.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the two-time Formula One world champion is set to pocket a mouthwatering £40 million per year, making him the highest paid driver on the circuit following two months of negotiations with executives Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda.

Hamilton is currently paid an annual salary of £20 million but could be about to double that deal to bring him closer to Sebastian Vettel; the Ferrari rival who currently boasts the biggest pay-packet of €50 million (£37 million).

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The 30-year-old Brit had hoped an announcement would be made before this Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, but senior officials at Mercedes have since indicated that will not be possible.

Either way, it looks as though Hamilton's bumper pay-rise will put him in the same bracket as some of the world's highest earning professional athletes based on figures provided by the Forbes Rich List at the end of 2014.

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10. Matt Ryan - $43.8m

The 29-year-old Atlanta Falcons quarterback is not the highest-profile athlete on the planet but is certainly one of the most affluent thanks to the $103.75 million five-year contract he signed with the NFL franchise last year.

Ryan was drafted in the first round as the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft after playing college football for Boston College and has gone on to establish himself as one of the top paid players in the game.

9. Rafael Nadal - $44.5m

Widely regarded as the finest clay court player in tennis history, the 28-year-old Spaniard has a lucrative pay packet to match his mind-blowing skills that have helped get him to number three in the world.

With 14 Grand Slam singles titles Nadal is only the second male player - after Andre Agassi - to complete the singles Career Golden Slam, winning all four Grand Slam titles and the Olympic gold medal in his career.

8. Phil Mickelson - $53.2m

The 44-year-old is one of only 16 golfers in the history of the sport to win at least three of the four professional majors - the only one that continues to elude him is the US Open, although he's finished runner-up an agonising six times.

With three Masters titles, one PGA Championship and one Open Championship, Mickelson has spent over 700 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings and remains competitive on the tour today.

7. Roger Federer - $56.2m

The current No.2 in the world is regarded by many as the greatest tennis player there's ever been, and there's plenty of statistics to back that up, like holding the world No.1 position for 302 weeks - including 237 consecutive weeks.

Federer has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles and reached each Grand Slam Final at least five times, so it's easy to see why the Swiss ace is the highest paid player in his sport.

6. Tiger Woods - $61.2m

Woods is no stranger to the top 10 Forbes Rich List having been one of the highest paid sportsmen for several years. The 39-year-old has broken numerous records after establishing himself as one of the greatest ever golfers of all-time.

He's been world number one for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any golfer, and has won 14 major titles - which is also the second highest behind Jack Nicklaus on 18.

5. Kobe Bryant - $61.5m

The Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard entered the NBA directly from high school, and has played for the Lakers his entire career, winning five NBA championships.

Bryant is a 17-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. He has led the league in scoring twice, and he ranks third on both the league's all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists.

4. Lionel Messi - $64.7m

The four-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner is widely regarded as the greatest footballer on the planet and one of the best to ever play the game. At 27, the Barcelona superstar still arguably has his best years ahead of him.

Messi has won almost everything there is to win - both individually and collectively - although he'll have his sights set on that elusive World Cup winners medal, especially after Argentina came so close in last summer's 2014 tournament in Brazil.

3. LeBron James - $72.3m

The Cleveland Cavaliers small forward has won two NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, two NBA Finals MVP Awards, two Olympic gold medals, an NBA scoring title, and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

James has also been selected to 11 NBA All-Star teams, 10 All-NBA teams, and six All-Defensive teams, and is the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer, which is why he is the highest paid basketball player in the game.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo - $80m

The Real Madrid superstar is one of the greatest modern day footballers on the planet and, alongside Lionel Messi, is head and shoulders above his competitors in the game today.

Ronaldo is regarded the most marketable professional sportsman in the world, and that's reflected by the huge amount of money the Portuguese forward earns from endorsements alongside his playing salary.

1. Floyd Mayweather - $105m 

Floyd 'Money' Mayweather is currently undefeated as a professional boxer and is a five-division world champion, having won ten world titles and the lineal championship in four different weight classes. 

Rated as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world by many sporting news and boxing websites, his forthcoming bout with Manny Pacquaio on May 2 is likely to be the most lucrative yet, for the richest sportsman on the entire planet.

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