It’s almost sickening, really.
In the seconds it takes for Cristiano Ronaldo to type out a tweet or get the lighting right for his next Instagram upload, he’s earned $3,585,218 for the privilege – or £3.2 million, in GBP.
It’s an astonishing sum of money, brought about by the fact that CR7 has more than 500 million followers worldwide on his social media channels – that’s a lot of eyes he can peddle commercial content to.
The findings, released by data analysts Nielsen Sports, confirm that the Portuguese ace continues to add millions of followers every year, and that he remains by far and away the most marketable – and commercially-lucrative – footballer on the planet.
His average earnings per post dwarf those of his old nemesis Lionel Messi, who rakes in around $2.6 million (£2.37 million) every time he takes to social media.
Rounding out the top three is Messi’s PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe, who pockets $1.17 million (£1.07 million) every time he posts to his 72.5 million followers on Instagram.
In bad news for the commercial wealth of English players, none feature in the top-10 of the best-paid social media accounts, although Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante (£480,000) and former Manchester United man Paul Pogba (£370,000) do make the grade.
So if Ronaldo is able to bank such extortionate sums when he posts on Instagram, who is paying him to market their products/services online?
His longest-serving commercial partner is Nike, who originally signed a boot deal with the now 37-year-old some 19 years ago. In 2016, he became only the third athlete in history to sign a lifetime sponsorship contract with the firm, following in the footsteps of NBA legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Given his rippling six-pack and toned physique, it’s little wonder that Ronaldo has been targeted by nutrition and wellness brands, with Herbalife thought to have spent a mind-boggling eight-figure sum to sign up the Portuguese forward for eight years as a ‘global ambassador’. He has also released his own energy drink, CR7 Drive, that has been formulated by the American outfit.
On a similar note, Ronaldo is also the face and follicles of Clear Shampoo, and having such shiny hair has helped CR7 become the star of the small screen – he has also inked sponsorship deals with streaming firm DAZN and Altice Portugal, a cable TV network in his homeland.
And when you’re appearing on television you need a bit of bling to complete your look – Ronaldo also rakes in millions courtesy of a commercial partnership with Tag Heuer watches.
The branding side of sport has certainly come a long way since boxing legend Henry Cooper ordered blokes to ‘splash it all over’ in his sponsorship deal with Old Spice back in the 1980s….
Mind you, you might be surprised to learn that Ronaldo and Messi were NOT the highest paid footballers of 2022.
Instead, that honour went to Mbappe, who takes home a cool £91 million a year from his PSG contract plus a further £17 million in endorsement fees. Nice work if you can get it….