The list of the best paid athletes from 200 countries was recently released and showed a trend that had already been fairly well known: the majority of top paid athletes from different countries are soccer players.
The list was comprised to show the highest paid professional athletes from 200 countries around the world. It was no secret that professional athletes can make millions of dollars every year, but it was not clear on how their individual performance compared to that of the rest of their countrymen.
The study, which was completed by ESPN, states that researchers considered earnings as a representation of "salary and/or prize money from the 2011 calendar year and excludes any other earnings or compensation."
Since not all athletes disclose their personal earnings, incomplete earning statements were verified and also calculated using figures from the reports of multiple sources including various professional leagues, agents, sports federations, cultural centers and the United Nations.
Those figures were then compared to the country's Gross Domestic Product or GDP, which is regarded as the gauge for a country's wealth. It is calculated by adding the total market value of a country's goods and services which is then divided by the country's current population.
The report listed that the two highest paid athletes were professional boxers. Manny Pacquiao from the Philippines took in $50 million for two fights last year while his notable rival, Floyd Mayweather, who partook in just one fight last year, made $40 million, making him the highest paid U.S. athlete.
One wider trend that was concentrated to poorer nations in Africa and the Middle East showed that the highest paid professionals from those countries were predominately soccer players.
Somalia had the lowest annual GDP at just $115, but is home to Abdisalam Ibrahim who currently plays for Manchester City in the English Premier League in England. He made $850,000 last year.