MADRID - Nike will pay Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo R64million a year until 2014 under a new sponsorship deal it has reached with the Portuguese winger, sports daily Marca reported yesterday.
The 25-year-old earned R48million under his previous contract with the world's largest sporting goods maker, the newspaper said.
While the new deal makes Ronaldo, pictured, the best paid footballer of those which Nike sponsors, the amount he makes is still lower than that dished out to other athletes, such as basketball stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James of the NBA.
Bryant, who plays for the LA Lakers, earns R79million a year while James, who plays for Cleveland, earns R95million a year, according to Marca.
The paper said the US sportswear-maker stepped up its negotiations with Ronaldo in the face of attempts by its German rival Adidas to lure him away.
Ronaldo, who took part in a Nike promotional event in London on Wednesday, became the world's most expensive footballer when he was transferred from Manchester United to Real in 2008 for R992million. - Sapa-AFP