Football: With new deals, Ronaldo becomes first €100m footballer

Cristiano Ronaldo has extended his stay at Real Madrid and has also made his Nike deal a "lifetime" partnership.
Cristiano Ronaldo has extended his stay at Real Madrid and has also made his Nike deal a "lifetime" partnership.

LONDON • Cristiano Ronaldo is set to become the first footballer to earn €100 million (S$153 million) in a year as a result of two new contracts he has signed with Real Madrid and Nike.

Individually, the deals establish new benchmarks for remuneration in the sport.

In combination, they are also expected to ensure the Portugal international's status as football's first billionaire player.

Ronaldo last week signed an improved five-year contract with Real which increased his basic salary with the European champions to an annual €48 million, according to a source.

At the forward's request, Real extended the duration of what he labelled his "penultimate contract" at the Santiago Bernabeu from four seasons to five - which means he will reportedly bolster his current weekly wage of about US$450,000 (S$636,000) per week until June 2021. With performance-related bonuses on top, he expects to gross more than €50 million a year from his new deal.

The double Fifa Ballon d'Or winner also announced a "lifetime" partnership deal with Nike - the first of its kind the sportswear company has agreed with a footballer - that will reportedly yield him roughly US$24 million per year.

  • FRANCE FOOTBALL MAGAZINE RICH LIST 2015

    74m

    LIONEL MESSI - €74M (S$113.4M)
    Annual salary €36m
    Performance bonuses €3m
    Extra income €35m

    67m

    CRISTIANO RONALDO - €67.4M
    Annual salary €32m
    Performance bonuses  €400,000
    Extra income €35m

    44m

    NEYMAR - €43.5M
    Annual salary €20m
    Performance bonuses  €2.5m
    Extra income €21.m

    29m

    ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC - €28.5M
    Annual salary 20m
    Performance bonuses €2.5m
    Extra income €6m

    27m

    THIAGO SILVA - €26.5M
    Annual salary €23m
    Performance bonuses €1m
    Extra income €2.5m

In total, this means Ronaldo could make upward of US$1 billion from the American company.

The long-term aim of the partnership is to surpass the revenue achieved by Nike from the company's pioneering lifetime agreement with former basketball star Michael Jordan.

Both parties believe that football's greater global popularity, coupled with Ronaldo's status as the planet's most followed sportsman on social media, can generate unprecedented sales of Nike products.

Asia, where Ronaldo has a huge following, is a particular target market for the "CR7" brand.

The Portuguese surpassed retired boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr this year as the richest athlete on the Forbes list.

He is only the second team athlete to ever rank at the top since Forbes began its list in 1990. Jordan was the first.

Currently a European champion at both club and international level, 31-year-old Ronaldo has stated his intention to continue playing for Real into his forties.

He has already claimed a host of scoring records, and is the all-time leading scorer for Real, the Spanish League and European club football.

"I'm going to try and give my best over the next five years, always open to learning and knowing that football teaches you many things," said Ronaldo upon signing his new contract with Real.

"Me scoring or not scoring is not as important as all of you out there seem to think I believe it is."

THE TIMES, LONDON, WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'With new deals, Ronaldo becomes first €100m footballer'. Print Edition | Subscribe