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Cristiano Ronaldo is the first billionaire in football history

The Portuguese is the first to reach this milestone with the $105 million earned in the last year

Cristiano Ronaldo is the first billionaire in football history The Portuguese is the first to reach this milestone with the $105 million earned in the last year

After finishing ''only'' second in the ranking of the highest paid athletes of the year according to Forbes, Cristiano Ronaldo, making $105 million last year, however, became the first player ever to exceed $1 billion in revenue.

The Portuguese Juventus player is only the third athlete who during his career in activity manages to exceed this quota, anticipated only by Tiger Woods, who succeeded in 2009 - and to influence was his sponsorship agreement with Nike - and from Floyd Mayweather, who in 2017 earned most of her assets through the pay-per-view rights of her encounters.

In his 17-year career Ronaldo has earned $650 million on the field to which he will have to add another $765 thanks to his current contract, which will end in June 2022. Not even a football legend and living icon like David Beckham has come close to this. milestone, ending his career with a total income of $500 million, half of which came from sponsorships off the pitch.

His most substantial extra-football contract comes from Nike, which since 2016 has paid him $ 20 million a year and will do so for life, a clause already used with two other sports phenomena such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James. The other ''minor'' sponsors such as Clear, Herbalife and for the pharmaceutical manufacturer Abbott, on the other hand, contribute to bringing another $ 45 million per year into his pockets.

Always Forbes estimates that another quarter of its revenue comes directly from its company, Ronaldo Inc., which owns an underwear company, one of shoes, one of perfumes, one of jeans and a hotel - the collaboration is open with Pestana Hotel Group -, built on top of the Museu CR7.

'' Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time, in the most popular sport in the world, in an era where football has never been so rich'' said Sporting Intelligence's Nick Harris, whose poll Global Sports Salaries ranks teams from around the world based on total salaries.

Obviously the spotlight of the football match was also directed towards his direct sports antagonist Lionel Messi who, having started to play stably in the first team after three years compared to CR, earned ''only'' 605 million dollars in salary. The curious fact is that their rivalry on the pitch has gone ''beyond'' when both players had to re-discuss their football contracts, since neither of the two ever wanted to sign one with lower figures than their rival.

But, although both players have won (almost) everything both individually and as a team, and despite the dilemma as to who the ''strongest player in the world'' is, it will remain an unsolved question, there is no doubt about who - among the two - be able to better exploit their image off the pitch: led by his agent Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo has accumulated an ever-growing following of fans because of his appearance and his activities, becoming the first person to reach 220 million followers on Instagram, as he crowns him as the most popular man in the world.