AP Photo/Armando Franca
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first footballer to earn more than $1 billion (€885m), according to Forbes magazine.
The Juventus player ranked fourth on the publication’s 2020 Celebrity 100 list after earning $105 million (€92.9m) before taxes and fees in the past year. He beat arch-rival Lionel Messi by one spot with the Argentinian netting $104 million (€92.1m).
Ronaldo, 35, is not the first athlete to cross the $1 billion threshold while still active — golfer Tiger Woods and boxer Floyd Mayweather beat him to it — but he is the first to reach it in a team sport.
His prowess on the field during his 17-year professional career has so far earned him $650 million (€575.8m) which will have grown to $765 million (€677.7m) by the time his current contract with the Italian team expires in 2022.
The rest of his income has come from “leveraging his celebrity”, Forbes said.
He’s had a lifetime deal with Nike since 2016 which has so far paid him $20 million (€17.7m) a year, and he also has deals with Clear shampoo, Herbalife and pharmaceutical maker Abbott.
He also has his own trademark — CR7 — which includes branded underwear, a line of shoes, fragrances and denim wear. It is estimated to account for a quarter of his annual endorsement income.
The father-of-four is also the most followed athlete on social media with more than 200 million followers on Instagram.
His popularity is also profitable to clubs. Juventus sold 520,000 Ronaldo jerseys worth over $60 million (€53.1m) within 24 hours of its release.
Ronaldo has played for some of the world’s best-known club including Manchester United, Real Madrid and now Juventus.
His trophy cabinet includes three Premier League titles, two Spanish ones and one Italian championship trophy as well as five UEFA Champions Leagues. He also helped Portugal win the Euro 2016 championship.
He has also scoped up five Ballon D’Or and he is the all-time leading goal scorer in the Champions League.