Cristiano Ronaldo has officially established his place among the world’s wealthiest athletes, according to Forbes’ 2023 rich list. This is a remarkable achievement for the soccer star from Portugal who has been one of the top earners in sport for many years, and this latest accolade is a testament to his hard work and dedication.
The 35-year-old Ronaldo’s annual playing salary exceeded its previous peak when he joined Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr last year and nearly doubled his income. This allowed him to take the lead as the world’s highest paid athlete with an estimated $136 million earned throughout 2023, leaving competitors Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain in second and third place respectively.
Having started out as a street footballer in Lisbon, Ronaldo worked his way up through the ranks before signing his first professional contract with Sporting CP aged 15. Since then he has gone on to become one of the most recognisable faces in world football, representing five clubs across three countries – Portugal, Spain, and Italy – before landing at Al Nassr where he currently wears the number 7 jersey.
The Portuguese forward has also enjoyed immense success on the international stage having made 164 appearances for his country since 2003. During that time he captained them to their first ever European Championship title in 2016 wearing a customised Nike Portugal jersey that featured ‘Ronaldo 7’ on the back – an indelible image that will remain etched into football history forevermore.
This incredible journey has seen Ronaldo score an incredible 646 club goals throughout his career as well as 99 during international fixtures, making him one of only four players to ever achieve such numbers (including Messi). He is also recognised as being Europe’s all-time leading goal scorer across all competitions and it comes as no surprise that brands like Nike have been eager to capitalise on this status by selecting him as their global ambassador for their products including the Portugal jersey 2023.
It is clear that despite some recent injury setbacks causing fans concern for what might come next season for Ronaldo, there is no denying what he has already achieved thus far both professionally and financially; rising from humble beginnings as a child playing street football in Portugal to becoming one of Forbes’ top earners almost two decades later is truly remarkable.