Cristiano Ronaldo has matched skills with Lionel Messi on the field for years and is now distancing himself just a little, at least on his way to the bank.
Ronaldo made US$105 million before taxes and fees in the previous year, which put his total career earnings at more than US$1 billion, according to Forbes.
He is the third athletes to achieve billionaire status while active, following Tiger Woods who achieved the feat more than a decade ago in 2009 and boxer Floyd Weather who did it three years ago.
Ronaldo has made US$650 million playing the game over his 17 year career while his lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Clear shampoo, Herbalife and others have helped fatten his wallet.
He also has his own lifestyle brand, CR7, which pushes his line of underwear, shoes, fragrances and denim wear to his millions of adoring fans, which includes 200 million on just Instagram alone.
However, while Ronaldo may have been the first footballer to do it, he won’t be the only as Forbes forecasts Messi, who has earned US$605 million in salary alone since his professional debut 15 years ago, will join the billion dollar club next year.
For reference, football legend David Beckham *only* made US$500 million in total earnings, half of which came from endorsements.