Portugal and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo is fast closing in on becoming the first billionaire footballer.
Ronaldo, 35, last week agreed to take a pay cut as part of Juventus’ cost-cutting amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
However, that is not set to slow down the Portuguese captain’s growing personal wealth.
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Cristiano’s on and off-field earnings will soon see him join sport’s exclusive billionaire club – currently featuring only boxer Floyd Mayweather and Tiger Woods.
In 2019, Ronaldo hauled in £88million ($109m) as football’s second highest paid player – behind long-time rival Lionel Messi – according to Forbes.
A staggering £52million ($65m) of that comes via his contract with the Bianconeri – albeit taxed at 43 per cent.
But it is off-the-pitch where Ronaldo is making more money than ever before; last year he earned £36million ($44m) through commercial ventures.
And having swapped Spain for Italy in 2018 he is making his commercial deals go further, with earnings from the likes of Tag Heuer, Nike and his own CR7 brand only subject to a single flat tax of just under £100,000.
Ronaldo’s commercial value drives mega-money to his sponsors via social media.
According to Business Insider, the Champions League’s record goalscorer made 30 per cent more from paid Instagram posts (£39m) during his first season at Juventus than his take home pay (£30m) from the club.
All, including the Serie A side, feel the ‘Cristiano effect’.
Shares in the Italian champions rose to unprecedented levels in the three months after his £88million signing in 2018, almost doubling in value.
One performance during the 2018-19 season – his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League second round – directly led to a 24 per cent jump in share price.
Even now, having dropped considerably amid football’s suspension during the coronavirus crisis, they remain comfortably above where they stood prior to his arrival, while the club itself have experienced huge marketing growth across the globe – largely down to its association with its No.7.
Across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Ronaldo boasts 420million followers and each advertised post earns him in the region of £900,000.
And, simply, as his followers on social media have continued to increase, so too has his earning power, both for himself and those to whom he represents or is attached.
Forbes’ sports money analyst Christina Settimi declared last week: “With the additional $45million (£36m) he makes as a walking billboard, pitching products head to toe for the likes of Nike and his CR7 line of underwear, footwear, and cologne, Ronaldo can still earn $91million (£74m) annually to retain his standing among the best-paid in all of sports, and still become the third active athlete to crack the $1billion (£800m) mark in career earnings at the end of this season.”
It is part of the reason why Ronaldo has so embraced social media – most notably Instagram – in recent years, offering fans something of a look behind the scenes.
As the number of followers has increased, so too have the number of more personal posts.
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