Toure Is Africa's Highest Paid Athlete

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Ivorian midfielder, Yaya Toure has been named as Africa’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes magazine in its recently published ranking of world’s highest-paid athletes.

Toure, 29, is joint 73rd highest-earning athlete in the world with American basketball player, Tim Duncan. The total earnings of both athletes is put at $19.1 million each.

The Manchester City midfielder and South African golfer, Ernie Els are the only Africans named in the top 100 of Forbes’ list of world’s highest-paid athletes.

The winner of the 2011 African Footballer of the Year is on a five-year deal at English champions, Manchester City where he earns more than $16.6 million annually.

The $2.5 million he earns from endorsements brings his total earnings in 2012 to $19.1 million.

The former FC Barcelona man currently has an endorsement deal with Puma, which also includes distributing the sportswear manufacturing company’s product to children in Africa.

Golfer Els is 20 places down from Toure’s position on Forbes’ list.

The South African is tied on 91st spot with two baseball players, Carlos Zambrano and Albert Pujols, from Venezuela and Dominican Republic respectively as well as Northern Ireland golfer, Rory McIlroy.

Els, one of the most decorated golfers in the past 20 years, earns $1.4 million in winnings.

But he has raked in more money from endorsements, which stands at $16 million.

However, Yaya Toure and Els would not have been Africa’s highest-paid athletes if Ndamukong Suh, who plays for Detroit Lions in the National Football League (NFL), is not listed as an American national.

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Suh is named as the 14th highest-paid athlete in the world with a total earnings of $36 million including salaries/winnings ($35.5 million) and $500,000 from endorsements.

The 25-year-old is the son of Michael and Bernadette Suh. His father moved to America from Cameroon while Bernadette found her way to the USA from Jamaica.

Down in 96th position is another top earner with African roots in Russell Okung, an American football offensive tackle for the Seattle Seahawks.

Russell’s parents, Victor Okung and Dorothy Akpabio, were Nigerian immigrants who settled in Houston, USA.

The offensive tackle earns a total of $17.1 million from salaries/winnings and endorsements.

Nike, Verizon Wireless, Upper Deck and Panini are the endorsement partners of Okung, who signed a six-year rookie contract with Seattle Seahawks worth $58 million.

American boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the world’s highest-paid athlete with $85 million, which comes from only salary/winnings.

Another boxer, Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, is in second with a total earnings of $62 million.

Tiger Woods ($54.9 million), LeBron James ($53 million), Roger Federer ($52.7 million), Kobe Bryant ($52.3 million), Phil Mickelson ($47.8 million), David Beckham ($46 million), Cristiano Ronaldo ($42.5 million) and American footballer, Peyton Manning ($42.4 million) complete the top ten in that order.

Current FIFA World of the Year, Lionel Messi, who earns a total of $39 million is in 11th place.