He has not been able to add the FIFA World Cup to his remarkable line of successes at club level and the recent conquest of Europe at Euro 201, as well as hattrick of tiles in the UEFA Champions Leagues and five of the prestigious Ballon d’Or individual prize.
Despite not being there for glory at Russia 2018, ‘CR7’ is looking good for another Ballon d’Or diadem, following his completed move to Juventus of Italy, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s status has once again been highlighted as much that of ‘multinational money mint’ as he is a footballer.
The 33-year–old Portuguese icon had long ago moved onto another plane in his nine years at the Bernabeu as the main galactico of all galacticos.
Sporting Lisbon first nurtured his talents before Manchester United launched the process of turning him into a global icon over six years at Old Trafford.
But his Real achievements have transformed the Portuguese into the Beautiful Game’s megastar who now embarks on a fresh challenge at a “new stage in his life.”
After five Ballons d’Or and countless trophies, as well as more than a goal a game in his time with Real to capture 15 trophies, Ronaldo has nothing more to prove on the pitch as he heads for Turin on a four-year contract worth 30 million euros ($35 million) per season.
His 34 hattricks in Spain are a record for La Liga, but one triple crown he missed out on this year was as the best paid athlete on the planet.
Ronaldo had basked in the accolade for the past two years, but this time Forbes magazine gave that particular title to long-time rival Lionel Messi ahead of boxer Floyd Mayweather.
That, and a last 16 World Cup exit was sweetened by the knowledge that still he pulled in $108 million over the past 12 months — 61 million in wages and the remainder in various endorsements.
Accused by the Spanish taxman of hiding some of his off-field earnings Ronaldo agreed last month to pay 18.8 million euros to avoid jail.
As befits a man of his renown, CR7 has no fewer than 330 million “followers” on social media — more than any other athlete, meaning sponsors queue to make him the face of their merchandise.
Those sponsors include French telecoms giant SFR, Swiss watch firm Tag Heuer, Japanese gaming conglomerate Konami, oil behemoth Castrol and the Emirates airline.
That breadth and depth of marketing reach means there is no risk of his being reduced to a mere “advertising hoarding,” said Jean-Philippe Danglade, author of Marketing et Celebrities.
His strongest association, going back to 2003, is with Nike with whom he two years ago signed a new long-term sponsorship deal worth a minimum reported 20 milion euros a year and that he indicated was “for life.”
Marca suggested if certain non-publicly-specified goals are met, the annual value of the deal could be worth around 40m. “It’s the best contract I’ve had in my entire career,” he noted.
Forbes drew a comparison between the ‘bling-bling’ image of Ronaldo and the more reserved image of Messi.
Whereas in 2016 Messi reportedly lifted Adidas sales by an estimated $53.3 million, the Ronaldo effect lifted Nike into the stratosphere by some 500 million.
A simple Ronaldo post to social media can shift millions, as witnessed by a post to Instagram after Portugal won Euro 2016 which according to sports sponsorship valuation platform Hookit was worth $5.8 million to Nike.
Juventus shares on the Milan stock exchange jumped nearly 40% since June 28 when rumours of Renaldo’s arrival began to solidify. Shares fell more than six percent early Wednesday on The Old Lady’s profit-taking.
The 2006 opening of a CR7 underwear line in his native was barely an opening off-field gambit for Ronaldo, who has branched out not least in the fashion stakes into jeans, shoes and sundry accessories.
Three years ago he teamed up with his country’s leading hotel chain, Pestana, for a joint venture to build five CR7 branded hotels as the chain targets a greater slice of the international luxury accommodation market.
With his off-the-field interests covered, Ronaldo can concentrate on his upcoming Italian job, showcasing his brand in a country where fashion and football happily co-exist in a market seemingly tailor made for his twilight on-pitch years.
As sportsman-cum-entrepreneur Ronaldo also took a sartorial leaf out of the book of Real galactico predecessor and fashion icon David Beckham and basketball legend Michael Jordan to push sports gear to similar heights which the former England star and Jordan, notably with his “Jumpman” logo, had achieved before him.
“It’s the little black book of illustrated marketing,” says Danglade, a top researcher at Kedge Business School, noting how Ronaldo’s image straddles everything from product, to service, to digital interface.
He added: “Such huge marketing reach is “extremely rare. Madeira airport bears his name. In terms of (entering) the collective imagination it’s truly impressive.”
Remarkable, C-Ro-Ro is not saving money up for his own personal use alone, as records also show that he has a big heart for charity, and his list of contributions is as extensive as his posh portfolio of lucrative sponsorship deals.
The 32-year-old’s most recent philanthropic project will be to fund the construction of a paediatric hospital in Santiago, Chile, as part of a joint venture with Italian businessman Alessandro Proto — with others to follow in more South American cities.
Earlier this year, the Portugal captain auctioned off his 2013 Ballon d’Or trophy for £600,000, with all the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
In 2016, he made a generous donation to Save the Children for food, clothing and medical care to help the plight of children in Syria.
In 2015 Ronaldo was named the world’s most charitable sportsperson by dosomething.org, and was reported as having donated £5 million to help the aid effort in Nepal following the devastating earthquake that hit the region.
He came to the aid of a 10-month-old baby in 2014, paying for a brain operation to prevent the child from having up to 30 seizures a day.
The former Manchester United forward also once kept a promise made on Spanish radio to celebrate winning the Ballon d’Or that year with children suffering from leukaemia.
In 2013, Ronaldo lent his name and donated to a project to conserve the mangrove forests in Indonesia following a tsunami after seeing the footage of a young victim wearing a Portugal shirt with his name on it.
In the past he has also donated more than $165,000 to fund a cancer centre in Portugal that treated his mother, and paid for the cancer treatment of a 9-year-old boy.
“My father always taught me that when you help other people, then God will give you double,” Ronaldo said in 2013. “And that’s what has really happened to me. When I have helped other people who are in need, God has helped me more.”