Cristiano Ronaldo has been crowned the first soccer billionaire ahead of his top rival in sport, Lionel Messi after earning a massive $105 million before tax and fees in 2019. This was announced by Forbes through its official website.
CR7 as he is popularly called, ranks Number 4 on the 2020 Forbes Celebrity 100, a spot above Lionel Messi, and making him the first soccer player in history to earn $1 billion.
The 35-year old Juventus attacker is the third athlete to hit the $1 billion mark while still playing following Tiger Woods, who did it in 2009 on the back of his long term endorsement deal with Nike and Floyd Mayweather in 2017, who’s made most of his income from a cut of pay-per-view sales for his boxing matches.
The Portuguese star joined Juventus in 2018 in a deal worth $117.34 million after spending nine years with Real Madrid and within 24 hours of release, Juventus sold 520,000 Ronaldo jerseys worth over $60 million.
He has amassed an ever-growing following of fans over the years. In January he became the first person with 200 million followers on Instagram alongside massive presence on Twitter and Facebook making him the most popular athlete on the planet.
Recall that in 2016, Nike signed Ronaldo to a lifetime deal and pays him upwards of $20 million annually couple with other sources of income including Real Estate, Social media influencing, etc. His 2020 earnings include a salary of $60 million, a slight decline compared to his earnings in 2018 due to a 30% pay cut he agreed to take in April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.