Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was named by Forbes the first soccer player in history to have managed to nail $1 billion in earnings across his career, with captain of the Argentina team Lionel Messi poised to become the second.
According to the 2020 Forbes Celebrity 100 list of world’s highest-paid A-listers, Ronaldo made a staggering $105 million this year, landing in fourth place behind cosmetics mogul Kylie Jenner, her brother-in-law Kanye West and tennis star Roger Federer. Fifth place in this list was taken by Messi himself, who made $104 million before taxes and fees, bearing in mind that he withstood a 70% pay cut due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, has agreed to cut his salary by 30%, leaving him with $60 million this year, but the Portuguese player has a whole list of other earning options. He still remains the sport’s “top earner” on Instagram, pulling in around $1 million for every sponsored post he shares with his 222 million army of followers, while also raising $20 million annually from a lifetime contract with Nike. Some of his other $45 million comes from campaigns for Herbalife, Abbot and Clear shampoo. He also owns his namesake CR7 trademark, which is believed to bring him around 25% of his annual earnings.
Ronaldo has thus become the first footballer in history and only the third athlete behind Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather to reach the one-billion milestone. However, his Ballon d'Or rival Messi is not currently that far from the same landmark, making a total of $605 million in salary since 2005.