This list was made based on those athlete's salary, winning prizes and other endorsements. It might not completely accurate because it's only an estimated value.
1. Tiger Woods (Sport: Pro Golf / Annual Income: $100 million)
Still in his early thirties, Tiger Woods made nearly $23 million on the golf course and brought in a whopping $105 million in endorsements giving him a total of $127,902,706 and the No. 1 ranking for the fifth straight year as richest athlete. He might lost that title this year, rumored after his adultery scandal was spread some sponsors are breaked up with him.
2. Phil Mickelson (Pro Golf / $62 million)
It's not entirely surprising that golf's probable No. 2 best player would appear on this list but it's surprising that he's landed at No. 2 overall with $9.3 million in winnings and a staggering $53 million in endorsements giving him a total of $62,373,685.
3. David Beckham (Soccer / $45 million)
Becks invaded America in 2008 greeted by much fanfare and a high contracts, but injuries kept him off the pitch for most of the MLS season. The bulk of Beckham’s income is derived from sponsors like Adidas , Motorola and PepsiCo. Now he is on loan to AC Milan to ensured a place in England team for 2010 World Cup.
4. Kimi Raikkonen (F1 Racing / $41 million)
Ferrari made Raikkonen the highest-paid driver in motor sports last year when they gave the Finn a 3-year deal. Raikkonen delivered last year when he clinched the Formula One championship earlier this month. After having a bad season last year, Raikkonen decided to temporarly retired from F1 and want to move to WRC.
5. LeBron James (NBA / $40 million)
A serious business entrepreneur off the basketball court, LeBron James' salary was $12,455,000 and he raked in another $28 million in endorsements landing him at No. 3 on the list of richest athletes with a combined total of $40,455,000.
6. Manny Pacquiao (Boxing / $40 million)
A little surprise that the biggest earning in boxing sport doesn't come from the Heavyweight division, and not from U.S boxer too. But Manny Pacquiao is now the best pound per pound boxer, and become the most wanted target by any challenger in the world.
7. Lionel Messi (Soccer / $39 million)
This 2009 FIFA World Player only playing for one team for his entire career, Barcelona. He is still 22-year-old, and we'll see if he can win the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Argentina, how much raise will he get?
8. Alex Rodriguez (MLB / $39 million)
Baseball's greatest player earned an incredible $29 million on the field this year while bringing in a relatively modest $6 million in endorsements, with a total income of $39 million.
9. Fernando Alonso (F1 Racing / $35 million)
Alonso was contracted by McLaren team for $40 million/year for the duration of 4 years (2007-2010). He moved to Renault in the end of 2007 season, opted his contract with McLaren. Former double world champion Fernando Alonso has taken a £4million pay cut to help his Renault team meet the cost of staying in Formula One. This year he's gonna race with Ferrari.
10. Valentino Rossi (MotoGP Racing / $35 million)
Rossi clears around $35 million a year. That includes team salary from Yamaha and all endorsements, mostly from Fiat and AGV helmet. He also won 2009 MotoGP world title and rumored gonna move to F1 when he finished his contract.
There are supposed to be Oscar De La Hoya and Michael Schumacher on that list, but because they're both retired from the field I decided not to include both of them, although Schumacher gonna be back to behind the wheel this year.
Don't forget to check the newest update of 10 American and World's Richest Athlete, compiled by Sports Illustrated magazine.