In an extraordinary twist of fate, Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has once again staked his claim at the apex of the athletic world – this time, not through unmatched footwork or unstoppable goals, but through unparalleled financial success. Ronaldo becomes world’s highest earning athlete in 2023, exceeding the earnings of his on-field adversary, Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo’s remarkable achievement has its roots in his move to the Saudi Pro League. After donning the Al-Nassr’s jersey in January 2023, the Portuguese forward scored a lucrative financial goal that rocketed his earnings to an estimated $136 million in the last 12 months. This hefty sum outpaced the $130 million that Lionel Messi, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and now Inter Miami player, had earned in 2022.
The financial breakdown reveals an interesting dynamic of Ronaldo’s earnings. He drew a handsome $46 million from on-field exploits, while a whopping $90 million came from off-field ventures. This lucrative split puts the spotlight on how Ronaldo has mastered the art of leveraging his personal brand to cultivate significant off-field earnings.
Ronaldo’s off-field earnings largely stem from his lifetime contract with sports behemoth Nike and profits from his CR7-branded merchandise. His movement to Al-Nassr also saw a nearly doubled salary, further amplifying his earnings. Hence, Ronaldo’s earning prowess is not only confined to his extraordinary football skills but also his equally remarkable ability to monetize his fame.
Ronaldo’s record-breaking earnings in 2023 also earned him a spot in the Guinness World Records, marking this the third time he has achieved this feat in his historic career. However, it’s not all about Ronaldo and Messi in the list of highest earners. Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé, with an overall earning of $120 million, completes the trio of footballers that dominated the top of the list.
As Ronaldo continues to break records on and off the pitch, his story serves as a reminder of the power of branding in sports. Ronaldo, like a few others, has brilliantly utilized his worldwide appeal, creating a personal brand that rivals global corporations. His earnings success is a testament to the financial opportunities that athletes can create when they pair extraordinary athletic prowess with savvy business instincts.
This shift also highlights an interesting development in global football. The Saudi Pro League has emerged as an attractive destination for high-profile footballers like Ronaldo, which may indicate a possible shift in the dynamics of global football economics.
As the pre-season friendlies against Celta Vigo, PSG, and Inter approach, the world watches Ronaldo with bated breath. He has the ball at his feet and the world at his fingertips. Here’s to another year of Ronaldo’s sporting and financial success.
But, the key question remains – Can Messi catch up again? Or will Ronaldo continue to outdo his Argentinian counterpart, both on the pitch and in the bank?