Cristiano Ronaldo becomes football’s first billionaire

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first footballer in history to earn $1billion, according to Forbes.

The Juventus superstar’s earning of $105 million in the past year helped him hit $1 billion in career earnings.

He becomes only the third athlete to hit the mark while still active following legendary golfer Tiger Woods, who did it in 2009, and boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather in 2017.

Ronaldo, 35, has made $650 million during this 17-year career, which is expected to reach $765 million when his current contract ends in June 2022.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time, in the world’s most popular sport, in an era when football has never been so rich,” said Sporting Intelligence’s Nick Harris.

“He’s box office.”

The five-time ballon d’Or winner’s story is another classic example of rags to riches.

He grew up in a poor environment and would go with his friends to the local McDonald’s to beg for burgers.

“We were a little hungry. We had a McDonald’s next to the stadium, we knocked on the door and asked have you got any burgers,” he said in an interview with UK broadcaster Piers Morgan last year.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward took his son, Cristiano Jr, to the humble area he grew up in, and it was a shock for the youngster.

“He went up with me and there were still some of the same people who had lived there at the time,” Ronaldo said.

“I was moved, if I am honest, because I didn’t expect to see those people, and that touched me a bit.

“I went with Paixao and Cristianinho and we entered the room where I had stayed. My son turned to me and said: ‘Papa. Did you live here?’ He could not believe it.

“They think everything is easy in this world. The quality of life, the houses, the cars, the clothes… They think that it all just falls into their lap.

“That it what I try to instil in my son, including when I do events in schools. I try to convey that these things don’t come with having talent alone.

“But with hard work and dedication I think you can achieve everything you want to do.” 

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