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#Maximum: MS Dhoni in Forbes Richest Athletes in the World

He may have endured a torrid time with his team – despite redeeming himself with the bat and behind the stumps – during the recent tour of England but Mahendra Singh Dhoni shouldn’t be too worried.

The Indian cricket captain has been included in Forbes magazine’s annual list of the world’s richest athletes with earnings topping a staggering $30 million in the year up to June 2014 but still marginally down from last year’s figure of $31.5 million.

Dhoni is the only Indian on the list following the retirement last year of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Remarkably, just a fraction of Dhoni’s total earnings are derived from his trademark ‘helicopter flick’ and other exploits on the field for India and his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings – which he has led to two titles in the last four years.

Whilst his salary and bonuses amount to about $4 million per annum, Dhoni’s impressive list of endorsements – nearly thirty in all – cough up a vast chunk of his earnings with clients ranging from heavyweights such as Pepsi and Reliance Communications to soap brands and manufacturers of ‘premium’ shirts.

His bat deal – a mainstay in most cricketers’ promotional catalogue these days – is reportedly worth $4 million annually.

Whilst his earnings are massive, not only in terms of cricket but also in the Indian context, they are still a long way away from the world’s top earning athlete – boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr who earned a fairly outrageous $105 million for just two bouts over the same period.

Mayweather also doesn’t spend time endorsing any brands, instead spending his time collecting ultra-luxury cars in pairs which he then colour codes to remind him which city he currently lives in: if he fancies a $500,000 Rolls Royce Phantom, he will buy two, painting one white and another black with the former sent to his Miami mansion and the latter to his Las Vegas pile.

Other notable athletes in this year’s top earning list include Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 2 – $80m); Lionel Messi (No. 4 – $65 million); Tiger Woods (No. 6 – $61 million) and Roger Federer (No. 7 – $56 million).

According to Forbes, Nike remains the world’s most valuable sports business brand with an estimated worth of $19 billion.

The three biggest football clubs in the world – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United – are ranked the most valuable sports teams in the world with values of $3.44 billion, $3.2 billion and $2.81 billion respectively.

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