Who is the richest athlete in the UK? Lewis Hamilton beats Manchester united duo Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney to top spot

Joe Hall
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Wayne Rooney Zlatan Ibrahimovic richest net worth
Rooney and Ibrahimovic are worth a collective £203m (Source: Getty)

Racing driver Lewis Hamilton may have been pipped to the top of the Formula One podium last year, but that has not stopped him from returning to the top of Britain's sports rich list.

Despite finishing second to Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the drivers' championship last year, the 32-year-old still added £25m to his £131m fortune, according to the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List.

Hamilton lives in tax-light Monaco and supplements his income from driving — which can reach as high as £33m if he wins the World Championship and triggers bonus clauses in his Mercedes contract — with a number of sponsorship deals with IWC watches, MV Augusta motorcycles, L'Oreal, Monster Energy and aeroplane manufacturer Bombardier.

Read more: Lewis and Liberty — can Hamilton drive Formula One's new owners into a digital future?

The latest list of sport's biggest earners in the UK is dominated by football players and managers, with Manchester United, who contributed five of the top 10 sportsmen with a cumulative wealth of £368m, particularly well represented.

After Hamilton, United top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the only athlete worth over £100m.

The 35-year-old is a new entry on the Rich List after signing a £220,000-a-week contract with United last summer, the latest lucrative deal in a career that has seen him command large salaries at some of Europe's biggest clubs including Paris-Saint Germain, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.

Read more: Rooney tops last year's football-dominated UK sport rich list

He is followed on the list by strike partner Wayne Rooney, who topped the list last year but only increased his wealth by £11m to £93m.

Rank Name Sport 2017 wealth Increase/decrease
1 Lewis Hamilton F1 £131m ⬆️ £25m
2 Zlatan Ibrahimovic Football £110m New
3 Wayne Rooney Football £93m ⬆️ £11m
4 Jenson Button F1 £86m ⬆️ £9m
5 Rory McIlroy Golf £82m ⬆️ £26m
6 Sir Andy Murray Tennis £77m ⬆️ £20m
7 Jose Mourinho Football £61m ⬆️ £11m
8 Gareth Bale Football £54m ⬆️ £20m
=9 Luol Deng Basketball £50m ⬆️ £7m
=9 Pep Guardiola Football £50m New

Ibrahimovic and Rooney's drill sergeant Jose Mourinho is the richest football manager in the UK, having accumulated £11m more than arch-rival Pep Guardiola who is worth £50m and now installed at Manchester City.

Read more: Highest paid football managers - Mourinho tops earnings list while Liverpool's Klopp and Arsenal's Wenger both make top 10

"To millions of us these sportsmen are 'living the dream' — playing their favourite sport for a living and becoming very wealthy at the same time," said the list's compiler, Robert Watts.

"That probably makes these people some of the most envied people of any in the Sunday Times Rich List. While many might assume that football would dominate the top of this list, that is not the case. Individual sports can have even greater riches attached to them for those who make it to the top.

"Five of our biggest sporting earners in the past year come from golf, motor-racing, basketball and tennis —with Andy Murray's golden year propelling him closer and closer to entering the ranks of Britain's wealthiest 1,000 people."

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