India cricket captain Virat Kohli finds himself in the Forbes' highest-paid athletes list. Virat ranks at 83rd position in this esteemed list, headed by American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.
Notably, Kohli is the only sportsperson from India to be featured in this list with annual earnings of $24 million. Surprisingly, no female athlete featured in the 'World's Highest-Paid Athletes 2018' compilation.
According to PTI, Forbes said: “Kohli, 29, is not just cricket-crazy India's biggest name but is also one of the most popular athletes in the world, boasting more Twitter followers (25 million-plus) than all but three active sports stars."
Earlier this year, the BCCI named Kohli as one of just five players to receive the newly-created A+ contracts, which guarantee an annual income of more than $1 million.
"Yet like the Indian cricket mega-stars who have come before him, Kohli's big payday comes off the pitch" where he's partnered with top brands such as Puma, Pepsi, Audi and Oakley,” Forbes stated.
Mayweather, who heads the list with $285 million earnings, has topped the world's highest-paid athletes list for the fourth time in seven years. NBA's top earner LeBron James banked $85.5 million, including endorsements, over the last 12 months to rank sixth in the list.
Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi is ranked second in the list, followed by Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi's annual salary and bonus exceeded $80 million, making him the highest-paid player on the pitch this year. He ranks second overall with $111 million, including $27 million through endorsement deals with Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi and Huawei. Ronaldo is third in the list with $108 million earnings over the past 12 months.
Brazilian soccer player Neymar is the third soccer star in the top five with an annual income of $90 million. Other top athletes to be featured in the list are – American basketball player LeBron James (6), Tennis star Roger Federer (7), golfer Tiger Woods (16), tennis player Rafael Nadal (20) and golfer Rory McIlroy (26).
“The top 100 has an international flavour with athletes from 22 countries, but Americans dominate the action with 66 making the cut thanks to sky-high salaries in baseball, basketball and football. Those three sports had a combined 72 entries,” Forbes said in its statement.
(With PTI inputs)