LeBron James moves up on Forbes' list of top paid athletes

And, that this would be the world record transfer fee - far usurping what Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer.

American athletes compose more than half of the world's 100 highest-paid athletes in 2017, but none of them - not even National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James - could catch up to worldwide soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Forbes calculations released Wednesday.

Ronaldo leads his Real Madrid side into the Champions League final against Juventus tonight in Cardiff (7.45pm), looking to win the competition for the third time in four years and the first team to win it two years in a row.

There were 22 Major League Baseball players on the list, led by Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw ($33.3 million) at No. 28.

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi ($80 million), tennis player Roger Federer ($64 million) and Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant ($60.6 million) round out the top five.

Forbes earnings figures include all salaries and bonuses earned between June 1, 2016 and June 1, 2017.

The decline in the fortunes of Woods and Mayweather is understandable. She ranks No. 51, according to Forbes.

Nascar drive Dale Earnhardt Jr., who will retire at the end of this season, took the final spot on the list with earnings of $21.4 million. The boxer, though, has indicated that he is interested in returning to the ring to face mixed-martial artist Connor McGreggor, although a deal for the fight to happen has yet to be reached. Forbes estimates his fortune at $340 million.

  • Lawrence Cooper