LeBron James came in third behind the soccer stars on the annual list released by Forbes.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been named as the world's highest-paid athlete in the 2016 edition of Forbes' annual list.
The Real Madrid superstar earned $88 million up to June 1, 2016, with $56 million in salary and $32 million in endorsements to put him clear at the top.
It is the first time since 2000 that the No. 1 position has not been filled by boxer Floyd Mayweather — now retired after finishing first last year — or golfer Tiger Woods, who has not won a major in eight years.
Ronaldo's total put him ahead of fellow soccer standout Lionel Messi, who picked up $81.4 million over the past 12 months, while LeBron James was third with $77.2 million — up from the No. 6 spot last year.
James earned more than the Barcelona and Real Madrid players in endorsements ($54 million), although his $23.2 million salary was dwarfed by the wages of Ronaldo and Messi ($53.4m).
Basketball had three players in the top 10 — more than any other sport — with Kevin Durant ($56.2 million) fifth and Kobe Bryant ($50 million) in 10th.
Baseball did not have a representative in the top 10, but was the most prolific in the first 100 with 26 players featuring. The NFL was next with 21, topped by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton ($53.1 million) in seventh spot.
Jordan Spieth (ninth at $52.8 million) was the biggest mover in the list, surging from 85th last year after capitalizing commercially on his two major wins in 2015.
Forbes' top 10 highest-paid athletes:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo - $88m
2. Lionel Messi - $81.4m
3. LeBron James - $77.2m
4. Roger Federer - $67.8m
5. Kevin Durant - $56.2m
6. Novak Djokovic - $55.8m
7. Cam Newton - $53.1m
8. Phil Mickelson - $52.9m
9. Jordan Spieth - $52.8m
10. Kobe Bryant - $50m
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