Cristiano Ronaldo has become the latest target for the Chinese Super League with his agent Jorge Mendes revealing the details of a truly astonishing financial package.
According to the super agent, the 31-year-old has been offered a contract worth £1.6million per week from an unnamed CSL club, who are also willing to pay Real Madrid a world record £260m to release him from his contract.
However, it appears money — or more money, at least — is not important to the four-time Ballon d’Or winner with Mendes suggesting that Ronaldo has already rejected the incredible offer.
Cristiano Ronaldo is already the world’s highest earning sports star, according to Forbes
Ronaldo could earn four times his current Real Madrid wage by making the move to China
Mendes told Sky Sports Italia: ‘From China they’ve offered €300m (£260m) to Real Madrid and more than €100m (£85m) per year to the player. But money is not everything; the Spanish club is his life.’
The figures involved in the deal are barely comprehensible but will come as no surprise to those keeping up with the exploits of the Chinese Super League.
Shanghai SIPG have already paid £60m for Oscar, a bit-part player in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea squad, while their cross-city rivals Shanghai Shenhua have recently made Carlos Tevez the highest paid player in the world with a deal worth £615,000 per week.
‘The Chinese market is a new market,’ Mendes added. ‘They can buy a lot of players, but then again it is impossible to go for Ronaldo. Cristiano is the best player in the world and best ever. It is normal to have some offers.
Ronaldo capped a glittering career with his first major honour for Portugal at Euro 2016
‘He won the European Championship with Portugal, it’s like winning the Italian league with Genoa: they were not the favourite.’
Ronaldo has been offered almost three times what Tevez stands to earn while the £260m offered to Real Madrid would be equal to 52 per cent of their latest annual turnover (£494m).
Even for that kind of money, it appears Real Madrid were in no mood to entertain the offer while Ronaldo himself only recently committed his long-term future to the club, penning a five-year deal worth £365,000 per week.
That is already enough to place him in the top three highest earning footballers in the world today with the aforementioned Oscar and Tevez the only players ahead of him.
Ronaldo is one of the most widely recognisable names on the planet, let alone in football
According to Forbes, when adding his annual wage to his endorsement deals, Ronaldo earns more money per annum than any other sportsman on the planet with his most recent income estimated at £71m per year.
Although well into what some would consider the twilight of a stellar career, Ronaldo has hit new heights in 2016, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid before inspiring Portugal to their first major title at the European Championships.
He was deservedly awarded the fourth Ballon d’Or of his career and is widely expected to be named the inaugural Best FIFA Men’s Player ahead of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in January.
Oscar is set to join Shanghai SIPG in a £60m form Chelsea in the January transfer window
Shenhua unveiled Carlos Tevez as the world’s highest-paid player on £615,000 per week
Tevez posed for photos after agreeing to move from his boyhood club Boca Juniors
China’s state-backed investment in football is part of a wide-scale project to make the economic powerhouse an equally influential nation in world football with the government aiming to win a World Cup by 2050.
Oscar and Tevez will join other household names such as Hulk and Graziano Pelle while Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney remains a long-term target for the league.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned down an offer of £1m per week in the summer, choosing to move to Old Trafford instead.
THE TOP-10 BEST-PAID FOOTBALLERS IN THE WORLD
Tevez has shot to the top of the world’s best earners list
1) Carlos Tevez (Shanghai Shenhua) £615,000 per week £31.98m per year
2) Oscar (Shanghai SIPG) £400,000 per week £20.8m per year*
3=) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) £365,000 per week £19m per year**
3=) Lionel Messi (Barcelona) £365,000 per week £19m per year**
5) Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) £346,000 per week £18m per year**
6) Hulk (Shanghai SIPG) £317,000 per week £16.5m per year
7) Paul Pogba (Manchester United) £290,000 per week £15m per year
8) Neymar (Barcelona) £289,000 per week £15m per year**
9=) Graziano Pelle (Shandong Luneng) £260,000 per week £13.5m per year
9=) Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) £260,000 per week £13.5m per year
* Transfer is set to be completed in January
** All estimated figures are pre-tax, except in these cases where figures are post-tax. Sums may vary according to bonus payments.