Top earner Ronaldo plays down Portugal's friendly win

MADRID • Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, who on Wednesday topped Forbes' list of the highest-paid athletes for the past year, has urged his team-mates not to get carried away by their 7-0 romp over Estonia ahead of Euro 2016.

The 31-year-old forward, warming up for his side's Group F opener against Iceland on Tuesday, was making his first appearance for Portugal this summer.

"It was just a friendly and, even though we won 7-0, it doesn't mean anything," he was quoted as saying by Spain's AS newspaper.

"The team played very well and we are all physically well. We are on the right path, but we have to keep our feet firmly on the ground."

Ronaldo started and scored Portugal's first two goals before being replaced by Nani at half-time.

"I would liked to have played more but it was better to manage my time on the pitch and give others an opportunity to play," the Portugal captain said.

He was not fit at the World Cup in Brazil two years ago due to a tendonitis problem, as Portugal failed to progress from their group.

"I'm not at my best," Ronaldo admitted. "But there is still a week to go before we start Euro 2016 and I have time to improve."

Portugal reached the semi-finals four years ago but were eliminated by Spain on penalties and Fernando Santos' men are looking to go all the way in France.

"The group stage is the most important thing and then we will see," Ronaldo said.

On the financial front, Ronaldo is already a winner, after he and Argentina's Lionel Messi topped Forbes magazine's list of the world's highest-paid athletes in the wake of boxer Floyd Mayweather's retirement and back surgery for golfer Tiger Woods.

The American golfer had topped the annual list of sports stars' total revenues 12 times, with Mayweather, who retired unbeaten last year, first for three of the last four years.

This year, Ronaldo topped the list at US$88 million (S$ 119.2 million) with US$56 million in salary and US$32 million more from endorsement deals.

Messi was next at US$81.4 million, followed by National Basketball Association (NBA) star LeBron James, who tops American athletes with US$77.2 million.

Roger Federer, the Swiss tennis star, was fourth on US$67.8 million, with the NBA's Kevin Durant fifth on US$56.2 million.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2016, with the headline 'Top earner Ronaldo plays down Portugal's friendly win'. Print Edition | Subscribe