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By Mike Ayers
June 6, 2018
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during a training session at Cidade do Futebol (Football City) training camp in Oeiras, outskirts of Lisbon, on June 4, 2018, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 preparation match against Algeria.
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during a training session at Cidade do Futebol (Football City) training camp in Oeiras, outskirts of Lisbon, on June 4, 2018, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 preparation match against Algeria.
Pedro Fiúza/NurPhoto—Getty Images

The 2018 world’s highest-paid athletes list is out — and Cristiano Ronaldo has been kicked out of the top spot.

The soccer star was No. 1 for the last two years on Forbes’ annual list of the highest-paid sports stars, but taking over the reins now is boxer Floyd Mayweather, who earned a staggering $275 million between June 1, 2017 and June 1, 2018. The kicker? It was for one night of work. Mayweather went toe-to-toe with Conor McGregor on August 27 last year, which was enough to earn him that payout. Add in his $10 million in endorsements, and his take totaled $285 million.

This is Mayweather’s fourth time topping the list in the last seven years.

Boxers and soccer stars round out the top 5: Lionel Messi came in at No. 2, earning $84 million in salary and $27 million in endorsements. Ronaldo is at No. 3, earning $61 million in salary and $47 million in endorsements. McGregor, who ended up losing to Mayweather, came in at No. 4 with an $85 million payout and $14 million in endorsements. Soccer star Neymar rounded out the top 5, making $73 million and $17 million in endorsements.

So do any athletes other than boxers or soccer stars make it into the ranks of top earners?

NBA stars and NFL quarterbacks are doing quite well for themselves. Two tennis superstars, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, also appeared in the top 20. Pro golfer Tiger Woods ranked 16th: He earned a paltry $1.3 million in salary, but made up for that with $42 million in endorsements. On the opposite end of that spectrum, auto racer Sebastian Vettel, who ranked 18th, earned $42 million, but only $300,000 in endorsements.

Another notable fact: No woman made this year’s list of 100 athletes. It’s the first time that has happened since Forbes expanded the ranking beyond 50 in 2010. (Serena Williams was No. 51 last year, but took time off the tournament circuit after the birth of her daughter last year.)

Check out the full top 20 below, with the combined salaries and endorsements of the world’s highest-paid athletes:

1. Floyd Mayweather, $285 million (Boxing)
2. Lionel Messi, $111 million (Soccer)
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, $108 million (Soccer)
4. Conor McGregor, $99 million (Boxing)
5. Neymar, $90 million (Soccer)
6. LeBron James, $55.5 million (Basketball)
7. Roger Federer, $77.2 million (Tennis)
8. Stephen Curry, $76.9 million (Basketball)
9. Matt Ryan, $67.3 million (Football)
10. Matthew Stafford, $59.5 million (Football)
11. Kevin Durant, $57.3 million (Basketball)
12. Lewis Hamilton, $51 million (Auto racing)
13. Russell Westbrook, $47.6 million (Basketball)
14. James Harden, $46.4 million (Basketball)
15. Canelo Alvarez, $44.5 million (Boxing)
16. Tiger Woods, $43.3 million (Golf)
17. Drew Brees, $42.9 million (Football)
18. Sebastian Vettel, $42.3 million (Auto racing)
19. Derek Carr, $42.1 million (Football)
20. Rafael Nadal, $41.4 million (Tennis)

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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