Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has become the world's first billionaire footballer. It is estimated that Barcelona star Lionel Messi would reach the milestone next year.

The 35-year old Juventus striker also became the third ever sportsperson to reach the billion-dollar mark. Before him, only golf sensation Tiger Woods and boxing star Floyd Mayweather Jr. had gained such a net worth.

Last year, Ronaldo earned £85 million ($107.4 million) from his salary and endorsement deals, which eventually pushed him into the billions in terms of total career earnings.

According to The Sun, Ronaldo's earnings in the past year were down nine per cent. This happened mainly because he took a £3.5 million cut on his wages due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, that still didn't stop him from getting ahead of his on-field rival Messi in the race to reach the $1 billion (£791,389,680) mark.

Interestingly, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has earned about £500 million from his salary alone. It shows how much demand the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star has created for himself.

It is expected that by the time Ronaldo's current contract at Juventus expires at the end of 2021-22, his overall earnings from wages would exceed £600 million.

Ronaldo has reportedly raked in approximately £36 million-a-year throughout his career in the form of endorsement deals, including a lifetime partnership with Nike.

Besides earning from endorsements and football-related salaries, the Portuguese behemoth also owns a brand, named CR7, under which he owns multiple businesses. He co-owns two hotels in Portugal in partnership with the Pestana group.

The Juve forward also happens to be the most-followed athlete on social media. More interestingly, he charges somewhere around £1 million per sponsored post on Instagram, which is the highest amount charged by any Instagram influencer.

Surprisingly, the Portuguese captain makes £14 million more from social media per year than what he gets paid at Juventus.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo Getty

Messi, on the other hand, being three years junior to Ronaldo, is expected to reach the $1billion milestone next year. While Ronaldo achieved the milestone at 35 years old, Messi is likely to get to the target when he would be 33-34 years old.

Reportedly, the Barca star earned £84 million last year, which includes his wages and endorsement deals with the likes of Adidas and Pepsi.