Cristiano Ronaldo got one from his old rival Lionel Messi last week.
The Portuguese superstar was named the world’s highest-paid athlete, earning $136 million, according to Forbes’ list.
Two of the greatest footballers of all time are locked in a battle for supremacy.
Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United turned sour, but he hit the jackpot when he landed an eye-watering $212 million a year contract with Saudi side Al-Nassr in January.
Messi exchanged Barcelona for Paris, but like Ronaldo at Old Trafford, things have not gone according to plan at the French giant Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG star Lionel Messi (left) could eventually end up with Cristiano Ronaldo (right) in Saudi Arabia
Messi, wife Antonela Roccuzzo and sons Mateo and Ciro recently visited Saudi Arabia
Ronaldo with his family in Saudi Arabia after signing for Al-Nassr in January
And now he’s got a route out the door and a very lucrative one. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has a bid of $550 million a year on the table to join his old foe in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Nassr’s rival Al-Hilal has been linked with the World Cup champion in a two-year, $1.1 billion deal, reigniting the debate between Messi and Ronaldo.
Here, Dailymail. com looks at how the pair now match in the money game with more dollars flying around.
There’s only one place to start and that’s with the Argentine’s potential salary should he move to Saudi Arabia.
The 35-year-old is said to have signed a massive $659 million contract with the Saudi side, trumping his current $130.5 million per season contract with PSG.
French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the contract for Messi is a two-year contract, with an option for a further year.
Mail Sport reported this week that his wife Antonela “couldn’t imagine” moving their family, including their three young sons – Thiago, 10, Mateo, 7, and Ciro, 5, to Saudi Arabia in a potential stumbling block for the move.
The deal would see Messi earn $109 million more each year than Ronaldo.
Messi’s share rose even more after winning the World Cup with Argentina in Qatar in December
Mail Sport reported this week that his wife Antonela “couldn’t imagine” moving with their family
The staggering deal looks set to gain momentum after PSG reportedly beefed up protections for its players, including the striker.
Messi was believed to be in the firing line, with supporters also demanding the World Cup winner continue, having recently jeered the Argentine in home matches.
He has also been suspended for two weeks by the reigning French champions, following an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia – and following the team’s 3-1 defeat to Lorient.
Ronaldo made the move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr for a whopping $212 million a year, which stunned the football world in December.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a two-year deal following his tumultuous departure from United a month earlier.
The record-breaking deal propelled Ronaldo to the top of the pile when it comes to the richest athletes in the world.
He leapt over previous No. 1 Messi as he dropped back to second with Kylian Mbappé, LeBron James and Canelo Alvarez rounding out the top five.
Ronaldo has scored 12 goals in 16 games since signing the mega deal.
The 38-year-old, according to reports, already has a desire to leave Al-Nassr.
According to El Nacional, Real Madrid is willing to offer the attacker a non-playing role as an ambassador.
But… how much will he earn with that?
Ronaldo gave a thumbs up as he attended Saudi anniversary events in February
SPONSORSHIP AND BUSINESS
According to Forbes’ 2023 list, the Argentina international has earned $63 million from off-field endeavors.
The brands that Messi endorses are Budweiser, Gatorade, Konami, PUBG MOBILE, Pepsi and Mastercard.
Messi has a blockbuster deal with Adidas. They struck a deal in 2006 and he has been the face of the brand ever since.
In 2017 he signed a contract for life. He said the deal would earn him around £25 million a year Business Insider.
Messi promotes art eyewear company OrCam in a sponsored post on his Instagram account, which has 460 million followers worldwide
In November, Messi became the global brand ambassador for Indian edtech company Byju’s.
The World Cup winner has also made a name for himself in the business world. He is the owner of the Messi Store, a clothing line he launched in 2019.
Messi is also a big fan of the hotel industry. The attacker became the owner of hotel chain MiM Hotels in 2017.
Besides producing on the pitch, the striker is one of the marketable sports stars worldwide.
Last year he was even named the most marketable athlete in the world, ahead of Messi, Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton and Lakers’ James.
He has a lifetime contract with Nike, reportedly worth $20 million a year, while Armani, Clear, Castrol, Tag Heuer, Egyptian Steel, Herbalife, Italia Independent and PokerStars have all been previously endorsed by him.
More recent sponsorships include LiveScore, MEO, ZujuGP, Union Campus, Therabody, Louis Vuitton, and Bitcoin exchange Binance.
He reportedly gets about $45 million in ad revenue annually, with $90 million of his $136 million for this year coming from ventures outside the field.
The Portuguese striker promotes a wide variety of products on his social media pages
In addition to various sponsorship deals, Ronaldo has his own lifestyle brand called CR7
Ronaldo has also created his own brand with his own CR7 underwear, shoes, fragrances and clothing.
He also has a major stake in the hotel industry in partnership with Pestana Hotels, now known as Pestana CR7. He has hotels in Lisbon, another Funchal, but also branches in Madrid, Marrakech and New York.
The Argentine’s getting his hands on the elusive World Cup trophy further boosted his social media profile.
He was on the verge of making millions from sponsored Instagram posts after winning in Qatar.
His Instagram account, followed by 460 million fans, promoted Budweiser beer, the Call of Duty and eFootball video games, energy drink Gatorade, crypto exchange Bitget and artificial eyewear manufacturer Orcam, receiving more than $11 million less than a month after good luck.
His old rival had always been the leader when it came to football’s rich Instagram list.
Ronaldo and Portugal were dumped out of the World Cup by underdogs Morocco in the quarterfinals.
Another brand message saw Messi plug the popular Call of Duty video game series
Despite Messi’s victory on December 18, Ronaldo still came out on top, earning around $2.4 million per brand post, according to Hopper’s rich list for 2022unveiled at the beginning of the year.
Messi, meanwhile, received $1.7 million per brand mail.
Ronaldo has 581 million followers on Instagram.
Messi’s possible new deal with Saudi Arabia blows Ronaldo out of the water and would take him home more than double his counterpart.