Following his move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo has overtaken rival Lionel Messi as the highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes magazine. After leaving Premier League club United and joining Al-Nassr this year on a contract lasting through 2025, the 38-year-old soccer superstar reportedly earned $136 million, with his annual playing wage increasing to an estimated $75 million.
“After a disappointing year and a half with Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo jumped to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr on a huge new contract in January, nearly doubling his annual playing salary to an estimated $75 million,” Forbes wrote in an article. It is learnt that the list takes into account the earnings before taxes or agents’ fees between 1 May 2022 and 1 May 2023. Latest sports news and more at onlinebetnow!
This is the third time that the five-time Ballon D’or winner has topped Forbes’ richest athletes list. His overall earnings for 2023 are also the highest ever for any footballer, according to Forbes. He earned $46 million off-field, meaning engagements outside the sport, while he earned $90 million on-field. Most of his off-field earnings came from endorsements and commercials.
Ronaldo has over 850 million followers across multiple social media platforms, over 500 million of which are from Instagram alone, making the most-followed person on the platform. He also has his own CR7 label and is a lifelong Nike endorser in 2016, has been a partner since 2003. Recently, he joined cryptocurrency exchange Binance that has a huge chunk on his off-field earnings.
Ronaldo was closely followed by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) duo Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. Messi earned $130 million, while Mbappe has $120 million, making his debut in the list and becoming the youngest. Los Angeles Lakers player and NBA great LeBron James ($119.5 million) and Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez ($110 million) rounded out the top five.
Following his contentious tell-all interview in which he detailed his problems at the club, criticized the owners and the manager, and claimed to have “no respect” for Ten Hag, Ronaldo’s former Premier League team announced the termination of his contract during the World Cup the previous year. The club said, “Cristiano Ronaldo is to depart Manchester United by mutual consent, with immediate effect.
Earlier this year, the Portuguese star made his Al-Nassr debut in a friendly game against French champions Paris Saint-Germain. At the King Saud University Stadium, Ronaldo helped his Al-Nassr team defeat Al Ettifaq in his maiden league match. Since his transfer to the Middle East, Ronaldo has scored 12 goals in 12 league appearances.