It seems these days that it’s Cristiano Ronaldo’s world and we just live in it. The Real Madrid super star claimed his fourth Ballon D’Or in late 2016, a Champions League title, a Club World Cup and helped his native Portugal host its first-ever European Cup trophy. He was also crowned by FIFA the World’s Best Footballer for 2016.
“2016 was the best season of my career,” He told reporters at the FIFA awards ceremony on January 2017 and it’s hard to argue given the multitude of silverware he collected in 2016. But now he can add the title of highest-paid athlete to his resume. According to Forbes, Ronaldo was the highest earning sportsman in 2016 beating out Barcelona star Lionel Messi and NBA star LeBron James.
Forbes staff writer Kurt Badenhausen wrote:
“This year, soccer icon Cristiano Ronaldo is the world’s highest-paid athlete, with earnings of $88m over the past 12 months from salary, bonuses and endorsements. Ronaldo is only the second team athlete after Michael Jordan to rank as the top-paid since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990.”
Keep in mind these figures are based on his old contract. He signed an extension with Real Madrid in late November which boggles the mind on how much money he truly earned. Aside from his base salary he earned a large chunk of income off the pitch like every true super star.
“The three-time FIFA Player of the Year is a marketing juggernaut earning $32m off the pitch by our count. He kicked off a contract extension with Nike last year worth $13m-a-year. Other Ronaldo endorsement partners include Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Pokerstars, Clear Shampoo and more. He has his own line of suits, cologne, shirts, shoes, underwear and hotels under construction.”
Ronaldo’s immense popularity has translated to his bank accounts. In February of 2016 he became the first athlete to reach 200 million combined social media followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Playing for one of the most glorified clubs in soccer helps, but his talent and achievements have a lot to do with him being on top of the globe at the moment.