• Sports finances

Rooney, Hamilton among world's best-paid athletes

ESPN staff
April 16, 2014
Wayne Rooney was the fourth-highest earner in world football over the past 12 months © Getty Images

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney and Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton were among the world's top 25 highest paid athletes over the last year.

Three footballers featured in the top five, with Cristiano Ronaldo edging Lionel Messi for second place behind Floyd Mayweather, who earned $73.5 million dollars in the past 12 months.

Real Madrid's Ronaldo earned $50.2m in salary and prize money, a mere $100,000 more that Barcelona's Messi, while fifth-ranked Zlatan Ibrahimovic earned $35 with Paris Saint-Germain.

The data, compiled by ESPN Magazine and Sporting Intelligence, excludes earnings from endorsements. Of the top 27 names on the list (three are tied for 25th-richest), 19 ply their trade in one of the major US sports: eight in the NFL, 10 in baseball and one from the NBA - Kobe Bryant, the eight-highest earner with $30.5m.

Wayne Rooney's earnings at Old Trafford, including bonus payments, brought in $26m last year, making him the 15th-highest earner on the list - but not the best-paid British athlete over the same span.

That honour falls to Hamilton, whose move to Mercedes netted him $27.5m, making him the joint-highest earner in Formula 1 alongside Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. The duo rank 12th on the overall list.

Mayweather has fought twice in the past year. He defended his WBC welterweight title against Robert Guerrero and claimed $32m in the process last May, before taking a majority decision against Saul Alvarez in September to add the WBC light-middleweight title to his WBA (super) belt taking home $41.5m.

Taken in Isolation, Mayweather's fights would have placed him sixth and third on the list respectively.

WBA, IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, the only other boxer to appear on the list, is ranked 20th after earning $24m from his two victories over Francesco Pianeta and Alexander Povetkin.

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