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Ronaldo Beats Messi in Becoming First Footballer in History to Make One Billion USD Across Career

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo was named by Forbes the first soccer player in history to have managed to nail $1 billion in earnings across his career, with captain of the Argentina team Lionel Messi poised to become the second.

According to the 2020 Forbes Celebrity 100 list of world’s highest-paid A-listers, Ronaldo made a staggering $105 million this year, landing in fourth place behind cosmetics mogul Kylie Jenner, her brother-in-law Kanye West and tennis star Roger Federer. Fifth place in this list was taken by Messi himself, who made $104 million before taxes and fees, bearing in mind that he withstood a 70% pay cut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

© AP Photo / Eric Gaillard
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (L) receives from UEFA President Michel Platini the Best Player UEFA 2015 Award during the draw ceremony for the 2015/2016 Champions League Cup soccer competition at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum while Cristiano Ronaldo (C) looks on in Monte Carlo August 27, 2015

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has agreed to cut his salary by 30%, leaving him with $60 million this year, but the Portuguese player has a whole list of other earning options. He still remains the sport’s “top earner” on Instagram, pulling in around $1 million for every sponsored post he shares with his 222 million army of followers, while also raising $20 million annually from a lifetime contract with Nike. Some of his other $45 million comes from campaigns for Herbalife, Abbot and Clear shampoo. He also owns his namesake CR7 trademark, which is believed to bring him around 25% of his annual earnings.

The biggest part of Ronaldo’s billionaire income still comes from his salary though. Throughout his 17-year football career, the legendary sportsman has earned $650 million, according to Forbes estimates. This figure is expected to reach $765 million after his contract with Juventus ends in 2022.

Ronaldo has thus become the first footballer in history and only the third athlete behind Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather to reach the one-billion milestone. However, his Ballon d'Or rival Messi is not currently that far from the same landmark, making a total of $605 million in salary since 2005.

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