Cristiano Ronaldo got one over his longtime rival Lionel Messi last week.
The Portugal superstar was named the world’s highest-paid athlete, raking in $136million, according to Forbes’ list.
Two of the greatest soccer players of all time have been locked in a battle for supremacy.
Ronaldo’s Manchester United return turned sour but he hit the jackpot when he landed an eye-popping $212million-a-year contract with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr in January.
Messi swapped Barcelona for Paris but just like Ronaldo at Old Trafford, things have not gone according to plan at French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG star Lionel Messi (left) could end up joining Cristiano Ronaldo (right) in Saudi Arabia
Messi, wife Antonela Roccuzzo and sons Mateo and Ciro visited Saudi Arabia recently
Ronaldo with his family in Saudi Arabia after he signed for Al-Nassr back in January
And now he’s been offered a route out of the door and a very lucrative one at that. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has a $550m-per-year offer on the table to join his old foe in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Nassr’s rival Al-Hilal are being linked to the World Cup champion in a $1.1billion two-year deal, which throws up the Messi vs. Ronaldo debate once more.
Here, Dailymail.com looks at how the pair now matchup in the money game with more dollars flying around.
There’s only one place to start and that’s with the Argentine’s potential salary, should he move to Saudi Arabia.
The 35-year-old is said to have inked a massive $659m contract with the Saudi side, which trumps his current $130.5m per season deal with PSG.
French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the contract for Messi is a two-year deal, with an option of a further year.
Mail Sport reported this week that his wife Antonela ‘could not imagine’ moving their family, including their three young sons – Thiago, 10, Mateo, 7, and Ciro, 5, to Saudi Arabia in a potential stumbling block to the move.
The deal would see Messi earn $109m more than Ronaldo each year.
Messi’s stock rose even more after winning World Cup with Argentina in Qatar in December
Mail Sport reported this week that his wife Antonela ‘could not imagine’ moving their family
The staggering deal seems to be gathering some momentum after PSG reportedly reinforced protection for its players, including the forward.
Messi was believed to be in the firing line, with supporters also demanding the World Cup winner moves on, having recently jeered the Argentine in home matches.
He has also been suspended by the reigning French champions for two weeks, following an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia – and after the team’s 3-1 defeat by Lorient.
Ronaldo made the move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr on a whopping $212m-a-year, which stunned the soccer world back in December.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a two-year contract following his tumultuous exit from United a month earlier.
The record-breaking deal launched Ronaldo to the top of the pile when it comes to the wealthiest athletes in the world.
He leapfrogged previous No. 1 Messi as he dropped down to second with Kylian Mbappe, LeBron James and Canelo Alvarez completing the top five.
Ronaldo has scored 12 goals in 16 matches since the putting pen to paper on the mega deal.
The 38-year-old already has a desire to leave Al-Nassr, according to reports.
Real Madrid is willing to offer the forward a non-playing role as an ambassador, per El Nacional.
But… how much will he earn doing that?
Ronaldo gives the thumbs up as he attended Saudi founding anniversary events in February
SPONSORSHIP AND BUSINESS
The Argentina international has got $63m from off-the-field endeavors, according to Forbes’ 2023 list.
The brands that Messi endorses include Budweiser, Gatorade, Konami, PUBG MOBILE, Pepsi and Mastercard.
Messi has a blockbuster deal with Adidas. They struck a deal in 2006 and he has been the face of the brand ever since.
In 2017, he signed a lifetime contract. That deal would see him make around £25m a year, as per Business Insider.
Messi promotes artificial eyewear company OrCam in a sponsored post on his Instagram account, which has 460 million followers around the world
Back in November, Messi became the global brand ambassador of Indian edtech company Byju’s.
The World Cup winner has also made a name for himself in the business industry. He is the owner of the Messi Store – which is an apparel line he launched in 2019.
Messi is also a big fan of the hotel industry. The forward became the owner of the hotel chain, MiM Hotels, in 2017.
As well as producing on the pitch, the forward is one of the marketable sports stars globally.
In fact, last year he was named the most marketable athlete on the planet, ahead of Messi, Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton and Lakers’ James.
He holds a lifetime contract with Nike, reportedly worth $20m a year, while the likes of Armani, Clear, Castrol, Tag Heuer, Egyptian Steel, Herbalife, Italia Independent and PokerStars have all previously been endorsed by him.
More recent sponsorships include LiveScore, MEO, ZujuGP, Uniecampus, Therabody, Louis Vuitton and Bitcoin exchange Binance.
He reportedly gets around $45m a year in advertising revenue with $90m of his $136m for this year coming from off-the-field ventures.
The Portuguese forward promotes a wide range of products on his social media pages
As well as various sponsorship deals, Ronaldo has his own lifestyle brand called CR7
Ronaldo has also created his own brand with his very own CR7 underwear, shoes, fragrances and apparel.
He also has a major stake in the hotel industry in partnership with Pestana Hotels, now known as Pestana CR7. He has hotels in Lisbon, another Funchal, as well as sites in Madrid, Marrakech and New York.
The elusive World Cup trophy propelled the Argentine’s social media profile even more.
He stood to make millions from sponsored Instagram posts following the triumph in Qatar.
His Instagram account, followed by 460 million fans, promoted Budweiser beer, the Call of Duty and eFootball video games, energy drink Gatorade, crypto exchange Bitget and artificial eyewear firm Orcam, receiving more than $11m less than a month after success.
His longtime rival had always been the leader when it came to soccer’s Instagram rich list.
Ronaldo and Portugal were dumped out of the World Cup by underdogs Morocco at the quarter-final stage.
Another branded post saw Messi plug the popular video game series Call of Duty
Despite Messi’s triumph on December 18, Ronaldo still came out on top, earning around $2.4m per branded post, according to Hopper’s 2022 rich list, revealed at the start of the year.
Messi, meanwhile, got $1.7m per branded post.
Ronaldo has 581 million followers on Instagram.
Messi’s possible new Saudi Arabia deal blows Ronaldo out of the water and would see him take home $614.7m – more than double his counterpart on $304.4m