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Cristiano Ronaldo Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: Cristiano Ronaldo is set to become the first footballer to claim more than $1 billion in career earnings — despite taking a 4 million euro pay cut at Juventus in a move to help against the impact of the coronavirus.

The Portuguese superstar is on target to join an elite list of sports stars to cross the landmark — joining golfer Tiger Woods, who hit the billion-dollar mark in 2009, and boxer Floyd Mayweather, who hit the magic number in 2017.

According to Forbes, the pay cut hardly puts a dent on the Portuguese captain’s annual earnings and he had earned a staggering $109 million last year. A further 30 per cent wage cut is on the cards with the Serie A frozen due to the pandemic but Ronaldo could still earn an estimated $46 million annual salary.

The earnings he receives from his sponsorship deals and his CR7 underwear line could help take his earnings this year close to the $100 million mark again. This would help take him past the $1 billion in total earnings over an 18-year career.

The 35-year-old is currently in his hometown of Madeira as the football season in Italy and around the world shuddered to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Three of Ronaldo’s teammates at Juventus — Argentine star Paulo Dybala, Italian defender Daniele Rugani and France’s World Cup winning midfielder Blaise Matuidi — have all tested positive for the virus.