Ronaldo, who recently helped Portugal win Euro 2016, earns a total of £66.2m in salary and sponsorship income, putting him level with American TV star Dr. Phil McGraw.
According to the data, Ronaldo, 31, earns $55m in wages while the rest comes from his several lucrative sponsorship deals with global brands such as Nike, Tag Heuer, Sacoor Brothers suits and Monster headphones.
Ronaldo ranks above Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who is the eighth highest-paid celebrity and second wealthiest footballer with an income of £61.3m.
The third richest sports celebrity is basketball icon LeBron James on £57.9m, while musician Taylor Swift ranks the highest on the list with an income of £127.9m.
British band One Direction £82.7m and American author James Patterson £71.5m are the only other two celebrities that finish higher than Ronaldo on Forbes’ list.
The only woman to make the top 50 list of most highly paid athletes is 22-times Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, who ranks 40th –well above Maria Sharapova, who now ranks at 88th since her failed drug test at the Australian Open this year – with an annual income of $28.9m.