Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s highest-earning sportsman, according to Forbes’ Sports Money Index.

The Real Madrid forward’s 2016 earnings are listed as £70.5m in the study, broken down into £44.8m in salary and prize money and £25.6m in endorsements.

His long-time rival as the world’s greatest player, Lionel Messi, comes in second in the list with £65.2m with NBA star LeBron James third ahead of Australian Open champion Roger Federer.

Five sports are represented in the top 10, with basketball’s Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant and tennis star Novak Djokovic joining their rivals, golf represented by Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth and American football by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Three-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is Britain’s highest-placed representative in 11th, one place ahead of Tiger Woods – the former world No 1 earned only £220,000 in golf prize money but remained a marketable commodity with £36m in endorsements. Rory McIlroy is 17th in the list.

The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys topped the list of most valuable sports teams with an estimated worth of £3.37bn, with Real Madrid second and Barcelona third. The Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots and Premier League Manchester United complete the top five.

The overall Sports Money Index includes athletes, teams, brands and agencies and considers the links between them, with sportswear brand Nike ranked No 1 thanks in part to its associations with fourth-placed Barca, fifth-placed Ronaldo and sixth-placed James.

Forbes Sports Money Index 2016, top 20 athletes:

1) Cristiano Ronaldo, football, £70.5m

2) Lionel Messi, football, £65.2m

3) LeBron James, basketball, £61.8m

4) Roger Federer, tennis, £54.3m

5) Kevin Durant, basketball, £45m

6) Novak Djokovic, tennis, £44.7m

7) Cam Newton, American football, £42.5m

8) Phil Mickelson, golf, £42.4m

9) Jordan Spieth, golf, £42.3m

10) Kobe Bryant, basketball, £40m

11) Lewis Hamilton, Formula One, £36.8m

12) Tiger Woods, golf, £36.3m

13) Eli Manning, American football, £36m

14) Joe Flacco, American football, £35.6m

15) Tom Brady, American football, £35.3m

16) Floyd Mayweather, boxing, £35.2m

17) Rory McIlroy, golf, £34.1m

18) Russell Wilson, American football, £33.5m

19) Sebastian Vettel, Formula One, £32.8m

20) Philip Rivers, American football, £30.4m

Top five most valuable teams:

1) Dallas Cowboys, American football, £3.37bn

2) Real Madrid, football, £2.92bn

3) Barcelona, football, £2.84bn

4) New England Patriots, American football, £2.72bn

5) Manchester United, football, £2.66bn

-Sky Sports

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