The popular football adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is perhaps not always true, but in the case of the highest-paid player in Serie A, it couldn’t be more accurate.
In time, Cristiano Ronaldo will be mentioned in the same breath as Pele; he simply must be. From his early days at Sporting Lisbon, the Portuguese attacker has thrilled supporters with his tricks, assists, and goals.
He truly rose to prominence at Manchester United, which is where he matured as a player and a person, according to an article by the Guardian. He departed for £80m, (€89m), joining Real Madrid. In his time at the Bernabeu, he developed further becoming a true legend of the game. He has scored more Champions League goals than any other player and won not only club trophies, but also the European Championship with Portugal.
When he finally left Madrid for Juventus, he was earning around £300,000 (€336,000) per week.
That pales into insignificance when compared with his earnings in Turin. The Bleacher Report suggest he’s on as much as £27.7m (€31 million) per year, which is a staggering £532,000 (€597,000) per week. That makes him the best-paid footballer on the planet, even before his endorsements are taken into account.
An article by Daniel Anwar on Ladbrokes titled ‘Who are the Highest Earning Sports Stars?’ puts Ronaldo top across all disciplines with a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike worth over £700m (€782m). Whilst Ronaldo is, along with Lionel Messi, the biggest name in world football, his earning are four times as much as the next highest-paid player in Serie A.
That honor goes to another Juventus signing, defender Matthijs de Ligt. He’s a high earner but doesn’t come near the Portuguese superstar. He takes home £138,000 per week (€158,000) with bonuses of around half of that on top.
Another Manchester United export, Romelu Lukaku, is thought to be the third-highest earner in the division, followed by Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey.
Football Italia claims the best-paid players at Lazio lag some way behind, with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Ciro Immobile, and Lucas Leiva all coming in at around £43,000 (€48,000).
Is Ronaldo really worth so much more than everyone else? When he arrived in Turin he was correctly billed as one of the best footballers in history and he’s certainly lived up to that expectation. He bagged 28 goals in 43 matches last season, helping La Vecchia Signora to the Serie A title. He wasn’t as prolific as he was in Madrid, where he scored 450 goals in just 438 outings.
His commercial value off the field is worth almost as much as his goals on it. He is the biggest name in the world game and Forbes writer Christina Settimi labels him as a one-man economy after his departure from Spain. There is little doubt he’s worth every penny for Juventus, even if they don’t lift the Champions League with him in their side.
He’s also good for the profile of the Italian game and it could be argued his move has paved the way for the likes of Lukaku and de Ligt to head to Serie A. In the long-term, those outlandish wages could benefit the whole of Italy, indirectly.