Virat Kohli only Indian in Forbes' 2019 list of highest paid athletes; Lionel Messi tops with $127 million

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Virat Kohli featured 100th in the Forbes Highest Paid Athletes standings with $25 million to his name - $4 million in salary/winnings and $21 million in endorsements.

New Delhi: Virat Kohli is the only Indian sportsperson in Forbes' latest installment of 100 highest paid athletes who collectively earned $4 billion over the last 12 months, up from $3.8 billion recorded the year before. India's cricket captain featured last in the standings with $25 million to his name - $4 million in salary/winnings and $21 million in endorsements. In fact, he is the only cricketer to feature in the list which is dominated by footballers.

Kohli was ranked 83rd in last year's list and has come down in the standings despite an increase of $1 million in endorsements. Last year he earned $20 million through endorsements and $4 million in salaries.

Lionel Messi stood out as the world's highest paid athlete over the past year. Barcelona and Argentina star Messi dethroned retired boxer Floyd Mayweather as the sports world's highest earner, raking in $127 million via salary and endorsement deals.

That put Messi ahead of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, the Juventus and Portugal star who was second with earnings of $109 million.

Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar completed a sweep of the top three positions by footballers, coming in third with earnings of $105 million.

The fourth highest earner on the list was Mexico's middleweight boxing star Saul "Canelo" Alvarez with $94 million.

Alvarez, who defeated Gennady Golovkin last September to become the unified middleweight champion, inked the richest deal in boxing history last October, signing a five-year 11-fight contract with streaming network DAZN worth $365 million.

Evergreen tennis star and 20-times grand slam winner Roger Federer was fifth on the list with total earnings of $93.4 million.

The bulk of Federer's earnings came through lucrative endorsement deals, with the Swiss pocketing $86 million.

Stars from American Football (NFL) and NBA rounded out the top 10 on the list, with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson sixth on $89.5 million, just ahead of Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers ($89.3 million).

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was the highest earning NBA player, with $89 million, while Golden State's Stephen Curry was ninth with $79.8 million.

Curry's Golden State team-mate Kevin Durant was 10th on the rankings with $65.4 million.

Former World No 1 golfer Tiger Woods was 11th on the list with $69.3 million, which included an estimated $54 million in endorsements.

Meanwhile tennis superstar Serena Williams was the only woman to make the list, coming in at 63rd with earnings of $29.2 million.

(With inputs from AFP)

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