Sports

The business of being Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the richest athletes in the world.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid soccer star has an estimated net worth of $450 million. As of June 5, the Portugal-born soccer star has already made an estimated $108 million for the year, according to Forbes. About $61 million came from his salary, bonuses and winnings, and his endorsement deals brought in an additional $47 million.

Here's a look at how he built his multimillion-dollar empire.

Building the empire

When he was 18, Ronaldo signed with Manchester United, the massive English football club. Since then, he's taken the soccer world by storm. He has 654 career goals on the books, and his legs alone are insured for $144 million.

Ronaldo may not be the world's highest paid player in his sport, but what separates him from other players is how he leverages his brand power on social media. Ronaldo is a prolific user of social media and has the biggest social media following of any athlete. He outranks Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. by tens of millions of followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. According to Hookit, Ronaldo has 323.4 million followers across these platforms. On Instagram, he has the third largest following on the planet — with 128 million followers.

That's part of why his sponsors pay a hefty sum for just a single sponsored post on his social media pages. Hookit estimates that Ronaldo has more than 2.3 million social media interactions and views per post. Those interactions generate $1.8 million in value per sponsored post for brands like Nike. And according to social media research firm Izea, Ronaldo has made close to $400,000 on each of his sponsored posts on Instagram in 2018.

Global brands also want to make him the face of their companies. His endorsements range from watch companies to cable providers. He even backs an Egyptian steel company.

Ronaldo also has something no other rival soccer player has: a lifetime contract with Nike that is worth an estimated $1 billion. That deal was made back in 2016 and has the potential to go on for decades after he's retired from soccer. NBA legend Michael Jordan has a similar deal with Nike, which has paid him every year since retiring back in 2003.

But with his great riches, comes a lot of scrutiny. On Friday, it was reported he had reached a deal with Spanish prosecutors in a tax evasion case. Under this arrangement, he will have a two-year suspended prison sentence and pay a fine of $21.7 million.

So what does Ronaldo like to spend his money on?

Ronaldo invests a lot of his money into his own businesses. He owns his own luxury underwear line, footwear, blankets, a fragrance line, mobile apps, a creative agency, restaurants and even hotels. Back in 2015, Ronaldo invested $40 million in Pestana Hotel Group.

Ronaldo's lifestyle is larger than life. He owns a $7.1 million villa in Madrid and an $18.5 million apartment in Trump Tower in New York. The soccer star owns a bunch of expensive cars, including Lamborghini and a Ferrari. He's now driving a custom Bugatti Chiron with his CR7 logo, which is worthabout $3 million. He even owns a private jet, which cost an estimated $17 million, that also bears the CR7 logo on its side.

With the soccer star's legacy stretching beyond the playing field, it looks like his money-making empire is set to continue even after he retires.

CNBC NEWSLETTERS

Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

Please choose a subscription

Please enter a valid email address
Get these newsletters delivered to your inbox, and more info about our products and service. Privacy Policy.