The highest paid sportsmen of the last 30 years has been revealed – and shows exactly why Floyd Mayweather nicknamed himself ‘Money’.
Using data from Forbes, an amazing graphic by NoobNorm has been widely shared on social media documenting the top earning athletes from 1990 through to 2019.
Currently, FC Barcelona and Argentina captain Lionel Messi is the world’s highest-paid sportsman having overtaken Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, former world boxing champion Mayweather has earnt the most from his craft over the past ten years, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars.
As we near the end of the current decade, it is remarkable to see how footballers have overtaken boxers as Formula 1 drivers to become the most lucrative earners in modern day sport.
At the start of the 1990’s, Buster Douglas, Mike Tyson and Sugar Ray Leonard were the three biggest earners, followed by racing legend Ayrton Senna.
Evander Holyfield then proceeded to overtake Douglas as he claimed the world heavyweight title, before lucrative bouts with Riddick Bowe and Michael Moorer.
Michael Jordan’s emergence in the NBA saw his value sky rocket as the Chicago Bulls’ shooting guard began to amass his fortune on the court.
Ice hockey legends Sergei Federov and Wayne Gretzky also managed to get his name high up on the list, but it was clear to see a shift had once again occurred as we moved into the 2000s.
Jordan entered the new Millennium as the highest-earning sports star, followed by Michael Schumacher and Tiger Woods.
Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett and Grant Hill all joined Jordan as basketball contracts and sponsorship became more lucrative, with tennis legend Andre Agassi also entering the top ten in 2004.
David Beckham’s move to Real Madrid signalled the start of a new era with football, as two-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldinho began to earn big time after his move from Barcelona to AC Milan.
In 2006, Muhammad Ali sold his name and image for $50million, putting him in the top three earners for that calendar year – remarkable considering he had not fought since 1981.
Ultimately however, it would be boxing and football which end this decade. Messi took home £97m to make him Forbes’ 2019 Rich List highest earner.
However, this is nothing compared to the £216m earned by Mayweather in 2018 after he defeated Conor McGregor in 2017.
Source: TalkSport.com Motorsport