World Cup 2014 hopefuls abound in Forbes' 'Highest-Paid Athletes' list

World Cup 2014 stars like Lionel Messi and Neymar aren't in short supply on Forbes' 'Highest-Paid Athletes' list. Players from soccer, basketball, and baseball make up half of the highest-paid athletes in the world. Boxer Floyd Mayweather, however, is No. 1, earning $105 million.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Brazil's Neymar practices the day before the group A 2014 World Cup soccer match between Brazil and Croatia in the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. Neymar was the youngest athlete on Forbes' most recent list of the highest paid athletes in the world.

While the NBA Finals stay heated and soccer players kick off the FIFA 2014 World Cup Thursday, some players have something else to celebrate: being recognized as the world's highest-paid athletes.

Forbes released its annual ‘The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes’ list Wednesday morning. Fifteen soccer players and 18 basketball players were part of the 100-person pack, but boxer Floyd Mayweather is the highest-paid athlete in the world. Mr. Mayweather makes $105 million – without any endorsements.

However, two soccer players and two basketball players rounded out the top five: Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, Lionel Messi, and Kobe Bryant. They and Mayweather have a combined pay of $383.5 million.

Forbes considered salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees and endorsements paid out between June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014 for the list’s earnings figures. Endorsement figures are estimates from sponsorship deals. The figures do not account for taxes, agent fees, or investment incomes.

Only three women made the list – tennis stars Maria Sharapova, Li Na, and Serena Williams. All together, they made $70 million in winnings and endorsements. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic ­– the other three tennis players on the list – made nearly $134 million combined.

Philadelphia Phillies’ pitcher Cliff Lee is the highest-paid baseball player, racking in $25.3 million. Baseball is the most-represented sport on the list, with 27 players total with collective earnings of $585.9 million. Track and cricket each had one athlete, while no one from hockey made it on the list for the third consecutive year.

Eighteen football players also made the cut, collectively making $385.7 million. Both Peyton and Eli Manning are on the list at No. 26 with $27.1 million and No. 66 with $21 million, respectively.

Brazilian soccer star Neymar is the youngest athlete on the list, making $33.6 million. Neymar jumped from No. 68 in 2013 to No. 16 in 2014, after he signed with Barcelona and anticipating $74 million over the next five years. American golf pro Phil Mickelson is the oldest athlete on Forbes’ list at No. 8. Mickelson earns $5.2 million from salary and winnings, but he garners $48 million from endorsements.

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