Football

Ronaldo on the road to becoming world's highest-paid sportsman

Ronaldo snags another bumper contract just a day after his last one

Money, money, money, always sunny, in the rich man's world, sang Swedish group Abba in the 70s.

And how appropriate that song is for Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

A day after signing a bumper contract extension with the Spanish giants, Ronaldo boosted his mind-boggling earnings with a new deal with American sports giants Nike yesterday.

Together, the multi-million mega-deals are expected to cement Ronaldo's status as the world's highest-paid sportsman, ahead of Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.

Before his new deals this week, American magazine Forbes reported that Ronaldo's yearly income was US$88 million ($122.6m), more than Messi's US$81.4m.

No concrete figures have been divulged, but Ronaldo's new five-year contract with Real is expected to net the 31-year-old Portuguese a basic salary in the region of US$38m a year.

He could also bag up to US$61m a year for the Nike deal, reported Spanish newspaper Marca.

According to Mirror Online, the deal took months of negotiating with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes, who insisted his client should be the highest-paid player in the world.

LIFETIME DEAL

Both Spanish sports dailies Marca and AS said the Nike deal is for life, similar to the agreement between the company and basketball legend Michael Jordan.

"I have a great relationship with this brand, I have great friends here in the company," Ronaldo said at a Nike press release announcing a "new, long-term contract".

"We work as a family too," he added. "This is my brand."

The three-time World Player of the Year has enjoyed his most successful year, scoring the winning penalty as Real won the Champions League for an 11th time in May before captaining Portugal to their first major tournament win at Euro 2016 in July.

Despite his exploits this year, Ronaldo's form has still been criticised this season.

While he has scored seven goals across La Liga and the Champions League, he has been goalless in four of his last five matches in all competitions, sparking doubt as to whether his best days are behind him.

But former Brazilian striker Ronaldo endorsed his namesake, telling Mexican broadcaster Claro Sports: "I don't think he's going through a tough spell."

The Portuguese's new contract will keep him at Real until 2021, when he will be 36.

But Ronaldo wants to end his career with Real, saying he is planning to continue playing until the age of 41.

Speaking at the official announcement of his new contract, he said: "I'm happy here and want to stay here, but this will not be my last deal in football. I want to play until I'm 41."

Seems like the Abba song will continue to be sung for a long time yet, instead of Ronaldo's swansong.

- Wire Services.


I met (Real Madrid legend Alfredo) di Stefano here. He told me: 'Continue like this, champion, you're the greatest'.

— Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo

Top 5 sports earners this year

1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Football) Annual earnings: US$88m* ($122.6m); salary/bonuses: US$56m; endorsements: US$32m

2. Lionel Messi (Football) US$81.4m, US$53.4m, US$28m

3. LeBron James (Basketball) US$77.2m, US$23.2m, US$54m

4. Roger Federer (Tennis) US$67.8m, US$7.8m, US$60m

5. Kevin Durant (Basketball) US$56.2m, US$20.2m, US$36m

*The figures from Forbes do not reflect Ronaldo's latest deals

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