Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, two footballing superstars, are widely recognized as the best players in the sport’s history, having dominated the sport for the previous decade or so, as indicated by their combined 11 Ballon d’Or titles.
Despite being two of the sport’s wealthiest players, their earnings pale in contrast to NBA icon Michael Jordan, whose net worth eclipses the pair’s combined.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Net Worth
Ronaldo earned a cool £88 million in the previous year, ranking third on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid sportsmen for 2021. The sum is made up of a £51 million salary and £37 million in sponsorships, which include a lifetime deal with Nike as well as partnerships with Herbalife, Tag Heuer, and Clear Haircare.
Between 2010 and 2019, Forbes featured Ronaldo on their overall long-list, placing him second only to boxing’s Floyd Mayweather Jr, with total earnings of about £590 million. While determining Ronaldo’s actual net worth is unclear, estimates based on sponsorships and general income plus assets place him at roughly £363 million.
Michael Jordan: Net Worth
There aren’t many former athletes who are worth billions, but Jordan isn’t your average person. The NBA star has made it his business to be special throughout his career, breaking new territory both on and off the court.
Jordan earned slightly over £66 million during his playing days with the Bulls and the Washington Wizards, a sum that pales in comparison to his corporate riches. According to Forbes, the company has made £1.32 billion from collaborations with companies including Nike, Hanes, and Gatorade.
But it is with Nike, and notably, the Air Jordan sneaker that carries his name, that he has had the most success, earning well under £1 billion since 1984. Jordan’s current net worth is a little under £1.2 billion, and he also owns the NBA team Charlotte Hornets.
Lionel Messi: Net Worth
Messi, who was ranked second on Forbes’ 2021 list of the best-paid sportsmen, one place ahead of great rival Ronaldo, earned £95.5 million in April of this year. That amount, like that of his Portuguese counterpart, can be broken down into £71 million in pay from his final season with Barcelona and another £24 million in sponsorships.
The Argentine, who joined Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, has a shop in Barcelona that bears his name, as well as his clothing line and a long-term contract with Adidas. Messi’s net worth is estimated to be at £309 million, a sum that is only expected to rise following his mega-money move to PSG.
As per current estimations, Ronaldo and Messi’s combined net worth is around £672 million, which pales in contrast to Jordan’s stunning £1.2 billion fortune. Despite having the combined strength of two of the greatest footballers of all time, they are still £500 million short of Jordan.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the footballing superstar combination can close the gap shortly, which will be difficult given Jordan’s continued wealth through sponsorship and endorsements despite his retirement from the sport in 2003.