Cristiano Ronaldo has now achieved a special milestone after becoming football’s first official billionaire and the first-ever athlete to do so in a team sport.
Business magazine Forbes said the Juventus superstar overtook longstanding rival Lionel Messi to regain the crown as football’s highest-paid player last week.
Ronaldo finished at the No. 4 spot in 2020 Forbes Celebrity 100, with Barcelona captain Messi No. 5.
Overall, Ronaldo is only the third athlete to hit the billion-dollar mark, with Tiger Woods being the first (having done so in 2009) and Floyd Mayweather the second (in 2017).
Ronaldo, who is popularly known as Cr7, earned Sh11 billion ($105 million) before taxes and fees in the past year, making him the first footballer in the history of the game to earn $1 billion.
“Ronaldo, the first to do it in a team sport, has made Sh69 billion ($650 million) during his 17 years on the pitch, and is expected to reach Sh81 billion ($765 million) in career salary after his current Juve contract ends in June 2022. Messi, who began playing at the senior level three years after Ronaldo, has earned a total of Sh64 billion ($605 million) in salary since 2005,” reported Forbes.
The Portugal star is one of the most popular athletes on Facebook with over 122 million likes and earned at least Sh5 billion ($47.8 million) from paid Instagram posts making him the platform’s highest earner.
Ronaldo is also not only the most-followed athlete on Instagram, he became the first person on social media to reach 200 million followers on the platform in January. Currently, he has 222 million fans and follows 449 people.
The 35-year-old is well ahead on the Instagram most-followed list, with Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar in second and third on 153m and 139m followers respectively.
The former Real Madrid record goalscorer has won 31 trophies in Portugal, England, Spain and Italy as well as leading his nation Portugal to the 2016 European Championship and the UEFA Nations League.