CRISTIANO RONALDO has become football’s first billionaire ahead of Lionel Messi – with his Barcelona rival to follow suit next year.
The Juventus star, 35, has become only the THIRD sports star to reach the milestone, joining Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather Jr, according to Forbes.
Ronaldo raked in £85million in the last year from his wages and endorsement deals, pushing him into the billions for career earnings.
His annual earnings were actually down nine per cent, after he took a £3.5m cut on his wages due to coronavirus.
But it was still enough for Ronaldo to reach the $1bn mark before friendly rival Messi.
Former Manchester United and Real Madrid star Ronaldo has pocketed over £500m during his career from wages alone.
RON OF A KIND
That figure is set to exceed £600m by the time his current contract at Juventus is up at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Ronaldo has also raked in around £36m-a-year in endorsements during his career, including partnerships with Nike, with whom he has a lifetime contract.
The forward also has his own company, CR7, as well as being the most-followed sports star in the world on Facebook and Instagram.
Ronaldo rakes in roughly £1m per post on Instagram – more than any other person on the planet.
In fact, the forward makes £14m more per year from social media than he does from his Juventus pay-packet.
Amazingly, Messi – three years Ronaldo’s junior – is expected to reach the $1bn mark next year.
The Barcelona star pocketed £84m in the past year from his own wages and endorsement deals – which include Pepsi and adidas.
But neither Messi nor Ronaldo were Forbes’ top-earning sports star this year – with that honour going to tennis ace Roger Federer.
The Swiss legend, 38, banked £86m to edge out the footballing duo.