Cristiano Ronaldo will forever have the distinction of being the first team sports athlete to cross the billion-dollar mark in net worth. The Portuguese icon, who is the captain of his country’s national side, is counted among the world’s greatest footballers ever — and not without reason.
Pundits hail him for his astonishing accuracy in finding the back of the net, his phenomenal footwork, his incredible leaps inside the square, his outstanding ability to outpace the opponent, his unbelievable work rate, and his dominance on the field.
Ronaldo, who is in his late thirties, continues to function like “a freak of nature,” as FIFA once famously described him. Indeed, it is his mind-boggling performance on the field that has made him a name that millions of people around the world instantly recognise. Yet, to many, it is also his success story — rising to riches from impoverished beginnings — that is truly remarkable.
Cristiano Ronaldo: A look at his life and career
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born in Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira. He has three older siblings and his childhood was tough. However, the impoverished life could not deny his passion for football.
After a brief stint with youth clubs, he made his senior debut with Sporting Clube de Portugal in Lisbon in 2002 at the age of 16, becoming the first player in the club’s history to play in the under-16, under-17, under-18, B team and first team, all in a single season.
His life changed when the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson spotted his talent at playing football. Ronaldo was quickly snapped up for around USD 19 million by Ferguson to play for his Premier League club Manchester United, sometimes simply referred to as Man United and famously known as Red Devils. For six seasons, from 2003 to 2009, Ronaldo was one of the Red Devils and became an international superstar of the beautiful game.
In 2009, he was bought by La Liga club Real Madrid for a then-record transfer fee of USD 96 million. He continued his magnificent performance for the Spanish side, staying with them for the longest continuous period of his career for nine seasons till 2018.
At age 33, he moved to Italy when Serie A club Juventus bought him for USD 100 million — the most expensive for the club and the most expensive for a player above 30. After three seasons, he was re-signed by Man United for an initial two-year contract in August 2021. The Premier League club paid Juventus a USD 17.7 million and an additional USD 9.4 million in add-ons to get him.
Things went sour between Man United and Ronaldo when the latter criticised the club, most of its players and its manager, Erik Ten Hag, in a tell-all, two-part interview with Piers Morgan in November 2022.
On 22 November 2022, a week after the interview was aired, Manchester United announced that the club and Ronaldo agreed on a mutual termination of the contract.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” the club said in a statement.
In his statement, Ronaldo said, “Following conversations with Manchester United we have mutually agreed to end our contract early. I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change. However, it feels like the right time for me to seek a new challenge. I wish the team every success for the remainder of the season and for the future.”
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) November 22, 2022
Ronaldo has won seven league cups in his professional career. When he won the league title while at Juventus in 2019, he became the first footballer in history to win league cups in Premier League, the La Liga league and Serie A. Besides these, he has three UEFA Super Cup championships, four FIFA Club World Cup trophies, five UEFA Champions League titles, and several other cups for the clubs he has played for. Additionally, he captained Portugal to victory in the 2016 Euro Cup. He now has his eyes set for the FIFA World Cup 2022 at Qatar.
Throughout his career, Ronaldo has been constantly compared to Argentine great and current Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) forward Lionel Messi — the richest athlete in the world as of 2022 as per Forbes. While Messi has a record seven Ballon d’Or crowns, Ronaldo has five of them.
However, Ronaldo is ahead of Messi when it comes to footballing records such as total goals scored. The Portuguese striker has over 800 goals for club and country. He is officially recognised as the highest goalscorer, male or female, by country with over 110 goals. He has also scored over 700 goals for the clubs he has played for.
On the personal front, Ronaldo and his partner, Georgina Rodríguez, are parents to two children. He also has three other children born to surrogate mothers, including his eldest son, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr.
Ronaldo’s career earnings
Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the world’s highest-paid athlete twice on Forbes’ list — first in 2016 and then again in 2017.
He was ranked fourth on the list of Forbes richest athletes in the world in 2020. His earnings of USD 105 million before taxes propelled him to the esoteric club of billion-dollar-sportspersons. Ronaldo’s net worth went past USD 1 billion, making him the third active sportsperson after golfer Tiger Woods and boxer Floyd Mayweather to achieve the distinction and the first to do so in a team sport.
He was ranked the third-richest athlete in the world on Forbes’ 2022 list. According to the magazine, Ronaldo earned USD 115 million in the 12-month period between 1 May 2021 and 1 May 2022.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s salary per season has varied over the course of his career, especially in recent years.
According to Forbes’ 2022 list, Cristiano Ronaldo’s on-field earnings amounted to USD 60 million from salary and bonuses at Man United for the period considered for the report.
Forbes had in March 2020 — while Ronaldo was with Juventus — said that he had agreed to a pay cut at the Italian club, which would lower his annual salary and bonus earnings to an estimated USD 46 million from USD 65 million he had earned in 2019.
A major part of Cristiano Ronaldo’s net worth is a result of his association with major brands. As per Forbes’ 2022 list of richest athletes, Ronaldo’s off-field income was USD 55 million — a figure that was the same in the 2021 list.
It is not a surprise that Ronaldo makes almost as much as his annual salary from endorsements. His global fandom is a bankable resource for the world’s biggest brands. His influence is so massive that his involvement with the labels can affect the latter even if they are not in a partnership with Ronaldo. Case in point: Coca-Cola. The American company lost USD 4 billion within 30 minutes when Ronaldo moved aside two bottles of its carbonated drinks and picked up a water bottle during a pre-match press conference in 2021.
The brands that Ronaldo backs include Herbalife, Armani, TAG Heuer and Clear shampoo. As per Spanish newspaper Marca, the footballer is also the ambassador for Japanese tech company SIXPAD and the app LiveScore.
In March 2022, he signed up as the new brand ambassador of Kuwait-based Middle Eastern food and grocery delivery platform Talabat.
On 22 November the same year, Ronaldo announced his new partnership with luxury watchmaker Jacob & Co. and unveiled two watches — Heart of CR7 and Flight of CR7 — he designed with the company’s founder Jacob Arabo.
“I’m excited to announce my partnership with @jacobandco , one of the leading watch brands in the world. Today, we reveal our first watch collection that I co-designed with my dear friend @jacobarabo,” Ronaldo wrote on Instagram, with a picture of him wearing one of the watches.
The watch-release announcement came hours after Ronaldo confirmed his exit from Man United. According to reports, the timing of the release was interesting as one of the watches shows Ronaldo’s header against Man United.
However, his most significant association is with Nike, with whom he first associated in 2003 — the year he started playing for Man United. After remaining with the brand for 13 years, Nike announced in 2016 that it had signed a lifetime deal with the Portuguese icon.
Ronaldo, thus, became only the third sports star after American basketball legends LeBron James and Michael Jordan to have such a deal with the sportswear company. According to a Forbes report from the time, the deal was worth USD 1 billion. A social and digital media tracking company named Hookit had, as per Forbes, found that Ronaldo’s influential social media follower count across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter resulted in a value of USD 474 million for Nike from the footballer’s 329 posts for the brand.
In November 2022, the company launched the Nike Zoom Mercurial Superfly 9 Elite CR7 FG — a special edition show — celebrating the long legacy of Ronaldo’s footballing career.
Besides the endorsements, Ronaldo also has his own fashion brand named CR7. The brand name comes from a combination of his initials and the No.7, which is his jersey number in clubs and national teams. Eyewear, footwear, underwear and fragrances are sold under the CR7 label.
According to Marca, Ronaldo has a foot in the hospitality industry through his Pestana CR7 Lifestyle Hotels chain. These include five Pestana CR7 establishments — Madeira, Lisbon, Madrid, Moroccan capital Marrakesh, and New York City’s Times Square.
According to Marca, he also has investments of around USD 17 million in multinational businesses including Apple and Volkswagen.
Social media giant Instagram is one of Ronaldo’s biggest revenue streams.
On 22 November 2022, the Portuguese football ace became the first person in the world to reach 500 million followers on Instagram. He has long been the most-followed person on Instagram, far ahead of his rival — the Argentina great Lionel Messi, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in France’s Ligue 1.
The humongous following translates to big bucks. In fact, Forbes reported in October 2019 that he earned more from his Instagram posts than he did from his contract with Juventus. How much exactly? Roughly around USD 1 million per paid Instagram post. This, according to Forbes, amounted to a revenue of USD 47.8 million per year — around USD 13 million more than his annual salary at Juventus.
The UK-based Instagram planning and scheduling tool Hopper HQ estimated in early 2022 that Ronaldo is now pocketing around USD 2.4 million per paid Instagram post.
Things that contribute to Cristiano Ronaldo’s net worth
Properties have been one of his most significant possessions. And every property Ronaldo has ever lived in since turning pro has been quite like a palace.
It is a far cry from the time when he was growing up in Funchal on the island of Madeira. The humble house he lived in was too small for the family. He shared a single room with his siblings.
Today, Ronaldo counts among his assets some of the poshest residences money can buy. Over the course of his career, he has spent quality time with his family in these ultra-luxurious homes — which are located in five countries, including the US.
And he is going for more. Citing Portuguese media in April 2022, The Sun reported that he was building a new mansion in the picturesque Quinta da Marinha area along the Portuguese Riviera for around USD 8 million. This home, according to the Portuguese media, will be used by Ronaldo when he retires from football.
“The land was fenced off recently and it was purchased by Ronaldo. This is where he’s coming to live with his family when he finishes his career,” a source told the Portuguese magazine TV 7 Dias, according to The Sun.
Ronaldo’s most impressive property is located on his home island of Madeira. He purchased a derelict warehouse in 2015 and spent close to USD 10 million of his vast wealth to transform it into a seven-storey luxury residence in around four years.
Usually occupied by his mother and older brother, Hugo, Ronaldo and his family moved here during the quarantine period of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The Funchal building is located in one of the most beautiful corners of Madeira, overlooking the vast Atlantic Ocean. There is no clarity on the exact number of bedrooms on the property. However, it has a five-car garage, a rooftop swimming pool, a separate Olympic-size pool and a small football pitch. There is also a jacuzzi where Ronaldo spends moments of relaxation whenever he is at home.
The home was, however, the target of a burglar who entered through the garage and made away with a signed Juventus jersey as well as other small possessions.
Gerês is best known for the Peneda-Gerês National Park in the far north of Portugal, close to the border with Spain. It is a picturesque region with mountains and vegetation all around. As such, it is a top destination for Portuguese celebrities and business leaders; and Ronaldo is no exception.
The national team captain has a mansion in the protected national park which overlooks the River Cávado. The USD 3 million property was in the news in December 2021 when he had to demolish extensions declared “illegal” by law.
It was earlier believed that Ronaldo had sold the property to his Portugal teammate and friend Pepe in 2018, but Portuguese media later found that it was not true.
Ronaldo reportedly donated the rubble of the portions demolished to needy families in the region and, as per The Daily Mirror, was praised for his action by the local mayor.
Ronaldo has two properties in Lisbon. One of these is believed to be the most expensive residential apartment bought or sold in the Portuguese capital. This apartment is reportedly located on the Avenida de Liberdade. CR7 bought the high-value property in 2018 for around USD 8 million.
According to The Daily Mail, the property measures around 290 square metres. It has three bedrooms, a gym and a pool. Ronaldo spent around 10 days at the apartment, between the time he was being transferred to Man United from Juventus. In September 2021, he had to pull down a rooftop gazebo in the penthouse following legal action.
Ronaldo also owns another flat in the city. It is believed to be located in the Rua Castilho area.
During his second spell at Man United, Ronaldo settled in a palatial house owned by former Man United striker Andy Cole in Cheshire. He initially stayed at a seven-bedroom property worth a reported USD 8 million when he arrived in England to play for the Red Devils at Old Trafford once again in 2021. However, he soon moved to Cole’s place, which is worth around USD 4 million.
The reason, according to Goal.com, was that his club felt that the garden of the property was visible to passers-by, posing a security risk for the billionaire athlete.
Anyway, Ronaldo was once the owner of a beautiful house in the Alderley Edge area of Cheshire. He bought the property when he was with Man United early in his career from 2003 to 2009, but spent only three years of those at the house. He kept the house in his possession until around 2018 or 2019.
As per British media reports, the property was worth around USD 4 million and had five bedrooms, en-suite dressings rooms, a large garden, an indoor swimming pool, a gym, a cinema room and beautiful terraces.
Ronaldo bought a massive property in the affluent La Finca de Pozuelo de Alarcón area in the north of Madrid after he moved from Man United to Real Madrid. Though he joined the Spanish club in 2009, it is not clear when he bought the property.
According to reports, the value of the massive complex is around USD 6.7 million. The house has reportedly been designed by renowned Spanish architect Joaquín Torres. It has everything that fitness lover Ronaldo needs — a gym, a football pitch, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and sun loungers. Ronaldo’s ‘CR7’ monogram is embossed on the mansion’s large door handles.
The property is located in an area where numerous other famous football stars have their homes, including Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard and Zinedine Zidane. Apparently, Ronaldo still owns the house.
Marbella, on the Costa del Sol, is one of Spain’s top holiday destinations. Reports say Ronaldo bought a villa worth USD 1.8 million in 2019 in a private country club estate named La Resina in Marbella.
Though not as expensive as his other properties, the villa is undoubtedly one of his most beautiful homes due to its location. The vast Mediterranean Sea is visible from its floor-to-ceiling windows. There are four bedrooms, an infinity pool, a built-in theatre, a driveway lit with LED lights, multiple private gyms and a private golf course.
Ronaldo and his family lived in a USD 6.5 million mansion in Turin when he was playing for Juventus, whose home ground is Allianz Stadium (Juventus Stadium) in the city.
Georgina Rodríguez spoke about the mansion in the Netflix series I Am Georgina in 2022.
“Sometimes it would take me half an hour to get back from the living room because I didn’t know the way,” she said on the show, adding, “It was so big. Since I was a kid, I’d been used to living in small apartments.”
According to Italian media reports from 2018, the mansion is actually two separate villas connected to each other. It is located in the hilly region of Strada San Vito Revigliasco — on the opposite bank of River Po just outside the main Turin city.
The combined area of the mansion measures 1,000 square metres, and it provides a very high level of privacy. The reports said that it came with a long, heavily guarded private driveway connecting the property to the main road.
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The footballer often posted pictures of himself and his family on the property. These showed them enjoying the views from the terrace or celebrating key moments such as the star’s 36th birthday or the third birthday of his twins, Eva and Mateo.
The property’s location allowed Ronaldo and his family to enjoy uninterrupted views of Turin city and the river on the one side and the lush green hills forming a ring on the other.
Reports said that the three-storey marble property with large windows came with eight bedrooms, a playroom, a gym, a spa, a private garden and an indoor swimming pool. A huge garage allowed Ronaldo to park his fleet of cars.
It is not clear whether Ronaldo owned the property or what happened to it once he moved to England to join the Red Devils in August 2021.
New York City, US
Unlike England legend and his fellow Real Madrid teammate David Beckham, Ronaldo has never played in Major League Soccer (MLS). Yet, the most expensive property he ever bought is located in New York City.
This property, a lavish condominium, is located high up in the Trump Tower at 721 Fifth Avenue. The 233-sq-metre residence cost him USD 18.5 million in 2015.
Designed by Juan Pablo Molyneux in his distinguishable maximalist style, the condo has three bedrooms and offers 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline as well as Central Park. Black-and-white limestone designer floors complemented the burnished koa wood panelling used in interior furnishing of the living spaces. Some parts also have 18th-century parquet de Versaille floors.
The interiors are so incredibly stylish that, as per reports, author E.L. James was inspired to use the design as a model for the bachelor pad of his 50 Shades of Grey protagonist Christian Grey.
According to Vanity Fair, Ronaldo put up the property for sale in 2019 for USD 9 million. The report says that the lack of offers and the pandemic prevented the condo from getting sold off. In 2021, Ronaldo further lowered the price to USD 7.75 million. Though some media reports claim that he was able to sell the property in early 2022, it has not yet been confirmed.
Ronaldo owns a fleet of supercars — the combined worth of which comes to around USD 24 million. He has five Ferraris and three Bugattis in his collection. There is also at least one four-wheeler from almost every major car maker in the world, including Bentley, Maserati, Lamborghini and Mercedes.
In a 2015 appearance on The Jonathan Ross Show, Ronaldo admitted he didn’t know how many cars he owns. And he has since acquired more wheels than he had then.
Ronaldo reportedly owns a Bugatti Veyron, a Bugatti Chiron and a Bugatti Centodieci.
The Bugatti Centodieci is his most recent purchase of the three. He reportedly bought it in 2021 for around USD 11 million. The car he got is one of the few 10 ever made.
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A Bugatti Centodieci has a top speed of 380 km/h and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.4 seconds backed by the power delivered by its 8-litre W16 engine.
Ronaldo’s Bugatti Chiron is the next costliest of his Bugattis at around USD 3 million and is followed by a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse at somewhere around USD 2.5 million. According to The Sun, both cars bear his CR7 monogram on the headrests.
Ronaldo is clearly a fan of the Italian car maker. He has been driving a Ferrari since his early years at Old Trafford and was even involved in a crash in one of them in 2009.
Today, he has at least five Ferraris parked somewhere in the massive garages of his mega mansions. Among them is a Ferrari Monza SP2, which he bought in 2021 reportedly for USD 2 million after famously skipping his training with Juventus only to buy the car from the company’s factory in Maranello.
At the time, Scuderia Ferrari, the company’s Formula 1 team, posted a picture of the football icon posing for a photo with F1 drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc next to a Ferrari F1 car. And, no, Ronaldo hasn’t yet got his hands on an actual F1 car.
Can you calculate this? 🤔🤩
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 10, 2021
According to Business Insider and Hot Cars, he already owns a Ferrari F12 TDF worth USD 480,000, a Ferrari 599 GTO worth USD 385,000, a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano worth USD 310,000 and a Ferrari F430 worth around USD 300,000.
Ronaldo received a Mercedes G-Wagon Brabus as a gift from Georgina Rodriguez in 2020. At the time, the car was worth around USD 875,000.
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Ronaldo also owns a McLaren Senna worth USD 1 million, which he bought in 2019, and a Chevrolet Camaro worth USD 50,000. He has been seen driving in these around his property and with his children. There is also a superfast Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 worth around USD 318,000 in his garage alongside four Porsche cars, including a 911 Turbo S.
However, speed demons are not the only ones in his collection. There are also super luxurious cars such as the Rolls Royce Cullinan worth USD 900,000 and the Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead, the latter of which he bought very early in his career in 2008 for USD 500,000.
He also has a Bentley Continental GT, and in 2021, added another machine from the British car maker to his collection by purchasing a Bentley Flying Spur for around USD 313,000.
There are also a Maserati GranCabrio, an Aston Martin DB9, a BMW M6, and two Mercedes Benz cars — an S65 AMG Coupe and a GLE63s AMG — in his armada of four-wheelers.
Ronald owns a Gulfstream G200 private jet, which he bought in 2015 for somewhere between USD 25 million and USD 30 million. The aircraft can seat up to 10 people and fly at a top speed of around 900 km/h.
The Sun reported in July 2022 that the Portuguese footballer had put the aircraft on the market for sale. According to the report, he is now looking for a bigger aircraft.
Ronaldo used the Gulfstream G200 to quickly reach his native country from wherever he was playing whenever needed. When not in use by him or his family, the jet was rented out.
(Main image: Image: Courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo/@Cristiano/Instagram; Featured image: Cristiano Ronaldo/@Cristiano/Facebook)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.