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With more than 300 days a year of sunshine, no income tax for residents and one police officer for every 74 people, Monaco is a pretty sweet deal for athletes who train year- round and like to keep a low profile. Ayrton Senna, Björn Borg, Mika Häkkinen, Felipe Massa and Chris Froome—these are a handful of the world’s top athletes that have made Monaco their home over the years.
Of course, Prince Albert II has competed in five consecutive Winter Olympics representing Monaco in bobsleigh while Princess Charlene, who was part of South Africa’s women’s 4×100 meter medley relay at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, hosts the annual Riviera Water Bike Challenge, which this year raised over $1 million for her Foundation.
Over the next few pages, Forbes Monaco spotlights seven star athletes who currently reside in the Principality. Forbes figures are based on annual earnings, a combination of salary/winnings/prize money and endorsements.
1. Lewis Hamilton
#12 Forbes 2018 World’s Highest-Paid Athletes
#47 Forbes 2018 Celebrity 100
Source of Wealth: Auto Racing
Citizenship: United Kingdom
Marital Status: Single
LEWIS HAMILTON SEALED his fifth Formula One title at the Mexican Grand Prix on October 29, despite a fourth-place finish. He is now tied with Argentine great Juan Manuel Fangio as the second most successful driver of all time, but Schumacher holds the record with seven Title Wins.
Hamilton won his fourth F1 title in 2017, becoming just the fifth driver in history with four championships. The British race car driver is in the final year of a three-year contract extension that kicked off with the 2016 season. It is likely to pay out more than $120 million, including bonuses. Mercedes and Hamilton are reportedly close to finalizing a new blockbuster three-year deal, tying him to Mercedes through 2021.
Hamilton is the most marketable driver in the sport, boasting endorsement deals with Mercedes- Benz, Tommy Hilfiger, Monster Energy, Puma, IWC, Sony, Bombardier, Bell Helmets and MV Agusta Motorcycles. The Hilfiger deal signed in 2018 makes Hamilton a brand ambassador with plans for him to promote the Hilfiger Collection, Tommy Hilfiger Tailored line and its range of menswear, underwear and swimwear.
2. Novak Djokovic
#86 Forbes 2018 World’s Highest-Paid Athletes
#6 Forbes 2018 Highest-Paid Tennis Players
#68 Forbes 2017 Celebrity 100 (Dropped off in 2018)
Source of Wealth: Tennis
Marital Status: Married to Jelena, Director of the Novak Djokovic FoundationChildren: 2
AFTER WINNING SIX of eight Grand Slam events between 2014 and 2016, Djokovic has made it past the quarter finals only once in Slam events. He ranked among the top two players in the world for nearly six straight years starting in July 2011. Injuries and poor play now have him ranked outside the top 20. The result: Djokovic’s on-court earnings dropped from $21.6 million in 2015 to $1.5 million over the last 12 months. (Djokovic was the first tennis player to earn $20 million in prize money.)
Djokovic swapped Uniqlo for Lacoste as his apparel brand last year. It is a five-year deal with Lacoste paying a premium to Uniqlo. Djokovic’s 12 Grand Slam titles are tied for fourth most all time, while his prize money of $111 million ranks second.
In 2016, he opened a vegan restaurant, Eqvita, in Monaco (7 Rue du Portier).
3. Nico Rosberg
#98 Forbes 2016 World’s Highest-Paid Athletes
Source of Wealth: Auto RacingResidence: Monaco
Marital Status: Married to Vivian Sibold
NICO ROSBERG finished runner-up to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2014 and 2015 in the final F1 standings. Rosberg won the final three races of the 2015 season, which was a sign of things to come. He continued his streak and captured the 2016 Formula One World Champion Title, although five days later he announced his retirement due to the demands racing made on his time.
Nico and his father Keke are the only father-and-son duo to have won the Monaco Grand Prix (Keke in 1983 and Nico in 2013, 2014 and 2015), and the pair gave F1 fans a treat this year in May when they each reunited with their winning F1 cars, a Mercedes W06 and Williams FW08C respectively, to do a few laps around Monaco’s F1 circuit over lunch. Rosberg is now an investor in Formula E and bought a German engineering company. (Figure as of 2016.)
AFTER HIS PROLIFIC scoring tear at Atletico Madrid in 2013 in which he scored 34 goals in 41 caps for the club, the Colombian striker nicknamed El Tigre (The Tiger) left Spain’s La Liga when he struck a 5-year deal that doubled his salary to $70 million with AS Monaco, bankrolled by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. Falcao justified the move to the club saying his heart had been with it since his idol Thierry Henry had played there. Also like his formal idol, he picked up Gillette as a sponsor, fronting a campaign airing in his homeland. Falcao spent two miserable seasons on loan at Man U and Chelsea before he returned to Monaco in 2016 to help AS Monaco win the Ligue 1 Championship for the 2016-17 season.
According to L’Equipe, he’s the 9th highest-paid player in France’s Ligue 1 earning $875,000 a month.
Falcao and Henry, 41, reunited in October when the latter was announced as AS Monaco’s coach, replacing Leonardo Jardim. (Figure as of 2016.)
#8 Forbes 2018 Most Powerful Women In International Sports
Source of Wealth: Tennis
Marital status: Engaged to former NBA All-Star David Lee
THE DANE BROKE THROUGH at the Australian Open in January with her first Grand Slam singles win. The title was worth $3.1 million in prize money. Her endorsement partners include Adidas, Rolex, Usana, Babolat and more. She partnered with Ovvo Optics in 2018 for her own sunglasses line.
The current No. 2 singles player has been a vocal supporter of gender equality in her sport.
On October 25 at a press conference in Singapore, Wozniacki announced she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in August.
6. Grigor Dimitrov
#7 Forbes 2018 Highest- Paid Tennis Players
Source of Wealth: Tennis
Marital status: Single
DMITROV WAS NICKNAMED “Baby Fed” early in his career for his stylish play resembling Federer’s. The Bulgarian won a career-high four titles in 2017, including the biggest one of his career, the ATP Finals, which paid $2.55 million in prize money. Nike signed Dmitrov to a multimillion-dollar deal in 2014, banking on him being one of the future stars of the game.
Marital status: Single, dating Sports Illustrated model Danielle Knudson
FINISHING THE YEAR ranked No. 3 in the world, Raonic was the Association of Tennis Players Newcomer of the Year in 2011. He was also a finalist at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, 2013 Canadian Open, 2014 Paris Masters, and the 2016 Indian Wells Masters.
Sponsors of Canada’s top player include New Balance, Wilson, Rolex, Aviva, Rogers, Jaguar and Canada Goose.
Nancy Heslin Editor
Nancy (Wilson) Heslin is an established journalist and lifestyle writer. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco magazine (bimonthly in English) , since the magazine's 2nd issue . Launched in November 2018, Forbes Monaco is part of the Forbes family, with its 7 million readers and 71 million monthly website visitors worldwide.