By Barry Janoff
November 9, 2016: Calling himself "a Nike man for life," soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, already regarded as the highest paid athlete in the world, has signed a deal with the shoe and gear company that industry analysts valued at $1 billion.
The pact with Nike came days after Ronaldo signed an extended pact with Real Madrid that runs until June 30, 2021, valued at $50 million annually, according to industry analysts.
Ronaldo earns close to $90 million a year from his contract and endorsement deals.
"I look at this contract for life," Ronaldo said in a interview shared by Nike Football. "In my point of view, it’s the best for me. I have a great relationship with this brand; great friends in the company. They have specific people who work with me.
"So this means a lot to me because now I can give my feedback to them, they can listen to my opinion. So we work as a family," he said.
Nike signed LeBron James to a "lifetime" pact in May, valued at $1 billion, regarded at the time as the largest in the company’s history.
Ronaldo, who first signed with Real Madrid in 2009, has marketing deals that also include Tag Heuer, Herbalife and Pokerstars.
He also is building his own cottage industry under the CR7 brand, which includes such items as clothing, shoes, blankets and a line of cologne and body cleansers; in addition to investments in hotels and elsewhere.
At Nike, he has his own CR7 signature line and Web site destination, filled with cleats, clothing and accessories.
Some indications of Ronaldo’s global popularity: He has 117.2 million Likes on his Facebook page and 48 million followers on Twitter.
A Nike commercial with Ronaldo, "The Switch,"has had more than 56 million views since it was posted on YouTube in June.
"This is a special day for me, to continue this link with the club of my heart, it is a unique moment for me," Ronaldo said during a media conference when he signed he extension with Real Madrid. "[But] it is not my last contract. My aim for these five years is to keep making history, giving my best for this jersey."
Regarding Nike, Renaldo said, "This my brand. Many people have told me, 'I cannot see you with another brand.' I am a Nike man."
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