After making a whopping $105 million over the past year, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is now the first soccer player in history to earn $1 billion in his career. He barely edged out Lionel Messi for the No. 2 spot on Forbes’ recently published “World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes” list. The Portugal striker is the third athlete to cross the one billion mark and first to do it in a team sport. Before him, Golf legend Tiger Woods and boxer Floyd Mayweather achieved the feat. Woods made the cut on the back of his endorsement deal with Nike whereas Mayweather had his income from a cut of pay-per-view sales for his boxing matches.
The soccer star has made $650 million during his 17 year career with the potential to go up to $765 million based on his current contract. As Forbes pointed out, former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez earned $450 million in total salary in his 22-year Major League Baseball career and is the only team athlete who has made close to the money Ronaldo has.
Endorsement deals also play a massive role in Ronaldo’s income. Nike, who he has a lifetime deal with as of 2016, pays the soccer star $20 million a year. Even with a 30 percent pay cut brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, Ronaldo, 35, has earned $60 million from his salary in 2020.
Ronaldo is also the most followed athlete on social media with 222.4 million followers on Instagram, 85.3 million followers on Twitter and 112 million on Facebook.