Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentine legend Lionel Messi are always in contention to become the greatest player of all time. However, in terms of salary, the Barcelona star is currently ahead of the Juventus forward. However, recent reports reveal that the Portuguese maestro's contract with Juventus FC has a secret clause that can help him become the world's highest-paid footballer soon and leave Messi behind in the process. However, everything depends on Ronaldo's performance this season.

As we speak, Messi is the highest earning footballer in the world in terms of salary. FC Barcelona pays him €40 million per year. According to Fox Sports, Ronaldo currently earns €31 million per season at Juventus. However, as per the secret clause, this amount can go up to €45 million; given that he wins the Ballon d'Or or helps his club win the UEFA Champions League.

That's not the end of the story, as Ronaldo could potentially earn a staggering €60 million in case he achieves both the individual award as well as the European club title. Such an amount is mind boggling for a 34-year old athlete. This season, Ronaldo along with Messi, are competing for the most coveted Ballon d'Or. So far, both of them have won the accolade 5 times each.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Messi and Ronaldo are chasing a string of individual records in the Champions League. Getty Images

As The Week reports, the Portuguese captain is currently the highest-paid footballer in the Serie A, followed by Dutch star Matthijs de Ligt. De Ligt earns only €8 million, which is almost 1/4th of the amount CR7 rakes in every season. All of these amounts are net calculations after deducting taxes. The third highest earning Serie A footballer is Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian star earns €7.5 million.

Ronaldo's salary is over the entire team budget of numerous Italian clubs such as SPAL, Parma, Brescia, and Udinese. These clubs have annual budgets of €31 million, €30 million, €30 million and €28 million, respectively.

The defending Serie A champions, Juventus, are the highest salary payers as of now, with €294 million in the wage pot. Second to them is Inter with €139 million, followed by AS Roma, which has a budget of €125 million.