Portuguese international earned a staggering R71 500 for every minute he stood on the pitch in 2015/16.
In the 2015/16 season, Real Madrid’s Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo played 48 games for the La Liga club, scoring 51 goals in the process.
On his current salary of £18.98 million (R318 million), he would have earned a staggering R71 500 for every minute that he stood on the pitch – or R6.4 million for every 90-minute match!
Los Blancos paid nearly as much for every goal that the four-time World Footballer of the Year scored: R6.02m.
And then, of course, the R307m is “just” the base salary, with bonuses inflating the income to more than double that.
Highest paid players
Surprisingly, the left winger is not even the highest-paid player – Carlos Tevez earns nearly double what Ronaldo pockets from his Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
The second highest paid player is also Shanghai-based – Brazilian Oscar, who plays his club football for Shanghai SIPG, earns nearly £2m more a year than Ronaldo.
Even though the former Manchester United star is “only” third on the list of the highest paid players in terms of his basic wages, he tops the list with the highest earnings.
It is not only bonus payments that add a considerable amount to his bank balance – more than any other footballer, Ronaldo has cultivated an image that has allowed him to pick up endorsements from a large range of companies.
The most lucrative of these is undoubtedly his contract with Nike – the US sports apparel manufacturer signed a life-long contract with the star that could net him $1bn (R13.42bn).
Ronaldo signed a four-year contract extension with Real at the end of last year, taking him to the £365 000 weekly wages and binding him to the club until he is 36. At the time, he said that he did not want to rule out staying even longer.
“Who knows what the future holds. Of course, I would like to end my career at this club. This is my penultimate contract. I want to be here for many years to come. I am overjoyed,” he said.
Ronaldo’s nemesis, Lionel Messi, who has been in an ongoing battle with the Portuguese striker, not only for individual awards, but also in La Liga, is second on the income ranking with a not-to-be-sneezed at £76.5m, followed by his Barcelona team-mate Neymar and Real’s Gareth Bale.
The Welsh star earns more than the two Barcelona players, but is considerably less “valuable” for marketing and endorsement deals.
A surprise entrant on the list in fifth place is Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi, who is certainly not as well-known as those above him, but was still deemed worthy to earn £28.5m at Chinese club Hebei China Fortune.
Compared with the above players, Spanish international Juan Mata is not well paid – at least by those standards. He told Spanish TV last year that the kind of money that is being paid is obscene.
“Football is very well remunerated at this level. It’s like we live in a bubble. Compared with the rest of society, we earn a ridiculous amount. It is unfathomable. With respect to the world of football, I earn a normal wage. But compared with 99.9% of Spain and the rest of the world, I earn a silly amount.”
The Manchester United player, who reportedly earns £8.5m a year, said that while loving the game, he did not enjoy the business side of it.
“I’d take a pay cut if there was less business involvement in the sport,” he said.