‘If cricket is a religion, Sachin Tendulkar is God’ is a famous placard that used to be held at cricket matches. Though the ‘Master Blaster’ has retired, that doesn’t change the first part of the term, while Virat Kohli, though not yet termed as ‘God’, has replaced him as the most popular face in the world of cricket. This popularity has helped the Team India Captain earn a mammoth 25 million USD (Rs 173.31 crore) over the past year, and is the only Indian and the sole cricketer in the illustrious list of the highest-paid athletes across the world by Forbes.
Virat Kohli just managed to make it to the list at No 100, with earnings of 21 million USD in endorsements and 4 million USD in salary. Though his earnings have increased from 24 million USD from last year, his position in the list has dropped from 83 to 100.
Last year’s highest-paid athlete Floyd Mayweather is not a part of the list this time and has been replaced by Lionel Messi with 127 million USD pay. His rival Cristiano Ronaldo is second and Neymar third as the footballers show they don’t come cheap by any means.
Some of the other well-known names in the sporting field like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton, Conor McGregor, Serena Williams also make it to the list dominated by footballers and basketball players.
Here's the full list:
Kohli might be the only Indian in this list, but couldn't beat Bollywood as Salman Khan pipped him to highest-earning Indian celebrity list last year.
Nevertheless, he was named as the 'most powerful celebrity brand' in India late last year in a list by Duff and Phelps.