Virat Kohli among world’s highest-paid athletes; Floyd Mayweather, Lionel Messi top earners

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Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli is among the world’s highest-paid athletes, according to a Forbes’ compilation topped by American boxing champion Floyd Mayweather.

Kohli, the only sportsperson from India to be featured in the list, is ranked 83rd with earnings of USD 24 million.Surprisingly, the ‘World’s Highest-Paid Athletes 2018’ compilation is an all-male affair with no women being featured in the list.Kohli, 29, is not just cricket-crazy India’s biggest name but is also one of the most popular athletes in the world, “boasting more Twitter followers (25 million-plus) than all but three active sports stars”, Forbes said.The ‘World’s Highest-Paid Athletes 2018’ list is topped by 41-year-old Mayweather, with USD 285 million earnings.This year the Indian national cricket board ‘The Board of Control for Cricket in India’ named Kohli as one of just five players to receive the newly-created A+ contracts, which guarantee an annual retainer of more than USD 1 million, it said.

“Yet like the Indian cricket mega-stars who have come before him, Kohli’s big payday comes off the pitch” where he’s partnered with top brands such as Puma, Pepsi, Audi and Oakley, Forbes said.There are no women on the list.Forbes said tennis’ female sportspersons Li Na, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams were list regulars but Li retired in 2014 and Sharapova is still dealing with the aftermath of a 15-month suspension for using a banned substance.

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