- Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first football player in history to earn $1 billion in his career, and only the fourth ever billionaire athlete.
Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first football player in history to earn $1 billion in his career, and only the fourth ever billionaire athlete.
That’s just the third athlete in history after Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather, according to Forbes, who reports the Portuguese star earning $1 billion while still actively competing.
Forbes says that since his professional career began in 2002, Ronaldo has made $650 million on the pitch, although that figure is expected to reach $765 million by the time his current contract with Juventus ends in 2022.
The bulk of Ronaldo ‘s earnings have come from his several sponsorship deals off the field. Nike pays Ronaldo over $20 million annually after signing him into a lifetime contract in 2016, while the 34-year-old also works with Transparent Perfume, Herbalife, and Abbott, a pharmaceutical firm.
Last month Forbes revealed that Ronaldo had earned $105 million as the world’s second-highest-paid athlete in the past 12 months. Tennis superstar Roger Federer topped the list with total earnings of $106.3 million.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time, in the most famous sport of the world, in an age when football was never so big,” Nick Harris from Sporting Intelligence told Forbes.
The 35-year-old striker is just the third athlete to hit the milestone while still playing, joining Tiger Woods, who did so on the back of his long-term sponsorship contract with Adidas in 2009, and Floyd Mayweather, who did so in 2017 and made much of his money from a cut in pay-per-view sales for his boxing matches.
He became the first person on Instagram in January with 200 million followers, part of a 427-million social media army across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter making him the most popular athlete on the planet.
After Michael Jordan and LeBron James hitched to the Swoosh for eternity, Nike paid him more than $20 million annually and signed him for a lifetime contract in 2016. In May, to celebrate the 10th birthday of his son, the footwear maker announced the release of a tenth-anniversary edition of his first signature Mercurial Superfly and a child’s version, complete with his famous celebration stance, signature, and logo. Clear shampoo pitches, Herbalife HLF, and pharmaceutical maker Abbott help raise his tally to $45 million for endorsement.
Ronaldo Inc. now has a trademark — CR7, a combination of its initials and jersey number — part of a fashion brand that Forbes says accounts for a quarter of its annual advertising sales, including branded underwear that launched in 2013 and was followed by a line of accessories, fragrances and denim wear. In 2015, he partnered with Pestana Hotel Group to open his first property a year later in his home town of Funchal, Madeira, just above Museu CR7, a shrine for his trophies and a merchandise retail outlet.