The world’s highest-paid athlete won’t be taking a pay cut anytime soon. Real Madrid announced a new contract with star forward Cristiano Ronaldo. The contract runs through June 2021, extending Ronaldo’s previous Real deal, which was set to expire after the 2017-18 season. Ronaldo’s annual compensation from salary and bonuses is expected to be similar to his prior deal at more than $50 million a year before taxes.
The deal keeps Ronaldo at Real until his 36th birthday if he serves out the agreement and would mark 12 years with the world’s most valuable soccer club. At a news conference at Santiago Bernabéu stadium announcing the contract, the Portuguese star said he would like to sign one more contract after this one expires and play until he is 41. “Who knows what the future holds. Of course, I would like to end my career at this club. This is my penultimate contract. I want to be here for many years to come. I’m overjoyed.”
Ronaldo is the top scorer in Real Madrid’s history with 372 goals in 360 appearances since joining the Spanish club from Manchester United in 2009 for a then-record $132 million transfer fee. He led the team to two Champions League crowns, including in 2016 when Ronaldo hit the game-winning kick in a penalty shoot-out to defeat Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo won two Balloon d’Or trophies with Real as the top player in the sport and is widely expected to win a third in January when the 2016 results are announced. Ronaldo previously won the award at United in 2008.
The Ronaldo signing comes one week after Real extended the contract of winger Gareth Bale, 27, through June 2022. The Welshman is expected to earn more than $40 million annually pre-tax.
Ronaldo was crowned the top-earning athlete in the world in June with total earnings of $88 million, including salary and bonuses of $56 million. Ronaldo was only the second team athlete after Michael Jordan to rank as the top-paid in sports since Forbes began tracking athlete earnings in 1990.
Ronaldo’s off-the-pitch earnings of $32 million are also tops in soccer. He kicked off a contract extension last year with Nike NKE +1.90% worth $13 million a year. Other Ronaldo endorsement partners include Tag Heuer, Herbalife , Pokerstars, Clear Shampoo and more. He has his own line of suits, cologne, shirts, shoes, underwear and hotels under construction.
Ronaldo’s partners benefit from his massive social media presence, which is the biggest in sports and a tick behind Taylor Swift for the biggest among all celebrities. He has 246 million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. His social media posts in the 12 months ending June 2016 generated $176 million in media value, according to Hookit, which tracks sponsorship value in social and digital media. It is seven times more than any other athlete.