Forbes this week released the list of the top 100 earning Athletes of 2016 and seriously, football stars are not the only ones that earn big bucks.Out of the 100, only 12 were Footballers, Basketballers, Tennis stars, American football, among other sports stars were also in the list.
Therefore we look at the top 10 footballers that made the top 100 and mind you, there is a big gap between the top two global football stars and the rest.Therefore, here are the top ten;
10. Angel Di Maria : – $22.1m
After one disappointing season with Manchester United, Angel Di Maria joined Paris Saint-Germain on a four-year deal in August 2015 at a heavy loss to United, who had acquired him for a hefty free from Real Madrid. It was later leaked that the Spanish club put an anti-Barcelona trade clause in their sale of the winger to prevent him from going to their rival. In Ligue 1 Di Maria returned to the form he showed in Spain, scoring 15 goals and assisting 17 more times to come in behind teammate Ibrahimovic as league player of the year.
9. Bastian Schweinsteinger ; – $22.4m
After 17 seasons (youth and senior), 500 appearances, eight Bundesliga titles and one Champions League title with Bayern Munich, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger joined Manchester United in August 2015 just after his 31st birthday. New sponsor Beats by Dre put out an emotive commercial promoting the end of his era in Germany and the start of a new one proving himself outside of his country. Schweinsteiger helped lead Germany to the 2014 World Cup.
8. Luis Suarez : – $23.8m
Luis Suarez was overlooked as a top three finalist for FIFA player of the year after tallying 51 goals (three more than winner and teammate Leo Messi) and 22 assists (the same as Messi) for Barcelona during 2015. This season he at least will grab the Golden Shoe award as Europe’s top scorer having scored 40 league goals for the La Liga champions and a total of 59 goals in 52 appearances for his club. Compared to his peers, on a pay-per-goal production basis, Suarez’ $17 million in salary and bonus is the best bargain in the sport.
7. Sergio Aguero : – $24.3m
Man City’s top scorer netted his 100th Premier League goal in April. Aguero has said that after his contract is up at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, he will finish his career at former home Independiente after paying for the Argentine club’s new training ground. Puma made Kun, as he is affectionately known, its highest-paid footballer in a deal inked in 2013 and features him heavily in its Euro 2016 campaign.
6. Wayne Rooney : – $26.1m
Wayne Rooney signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension in 2014 with Manchester United that will keep him playing at Old Trafford until June 2019, just shy of his 34th birthday. That failed to sway Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai SIPG from offering him a three-year, nine-figure after tax deal in January 2016. About as many were surprised he rejected it as they were to see the off-the-pitch wrestling fan involved in a staged fight in a WWE event at Manchester Arena in November 2015. But the father of three boys is earning a reputation as a softie, and not just because of the adorable family shots he frequently posts on social media.
5. Gareth Bale : – $35.9m
While injuries limited the Welsh international to just 21 La Liga starts in the 2015/16 season, he managed to score 19 times, much to the delight of Real Madrid, who paid a whopping $118 million to acquire him in 2013 and is rumored to want to sell him. No matter where Bale goes he’s poised to remain a standout fixture for sponsor Adidas, having inked a six-year contract in 2014 worth an estimated $35 million.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic : – $37.4m
The Swedish striker ended his career with Paris Saint-Germain in May 2016 as its all-time leading goalscorer and with four straight Ligue 1 titles and three league player of the year awards. Up next: a rumored move, fueled by Zlatan and his agent, to the Premier League before a final stop in MLS or his hometown club Malmo. After a season-long negotiation with Nike, he returned to wearing the swoosh under a deal reported to pay an estimated $3 million annually through 2019.
3. Neymar : – $37.5m
In April, Neymar won a Webby Award, considered the Oscars of the internet, in the sporting category for his official Neymar Jr. website. The combination of his prowess on the pitch and innovation online have helped him land a dozen endorsement deals with brands like Nike, Red Bull, Panasonic, Konami and Gillette. He is currently the only active soccer player earning more off the field than on. Neymar’s playing contract is worth $75 million over five years.
2. Lionel Messi : – $81.4m
The reigning Ballon d’Or winner has won FIFA’s player of the year award five times. Messi holds records for goals for Barcelona, goals in a calendar year and hat tricks. He was the first to reach 300 goals in La Liga competitions. Messi’s playing contract is loaded with bonuses for such feats, which help make him one of the highest-paid on the pitch. Main sponsor Adidas capitalize on their superstar with its Messi-icon line of shoes and apparel and launched a “Backed By Messi” campaign which sees the Argentine endorse ten of the game’s brightest talents.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo : – $88m
The three-time FIFA best player in the world and four-time European Golden Shoe award winner has broken the 50-goal mark six seasons in a row for Real Madrid to rank as its all-time leading scorer and is the top goal scorer in the UEFA Champions League. He scored the clinching penalty kick during the 2016 Champions League final to lead Real to its second title in three years. Ronaldo’s Real contract worth over $50 million a year in salary and bonus runs through 2018. Ronaldo is the world’s most popular athlete with over 200 million social media followers, which help make him the highest paid footballer off the pitch. His head-to-toe sponsorships include Nike, his signature line of underwear, shirts, footwear and fragrance, Tag Heuer, Sacoor Brothers suits and Monster headphones.