REAL MADRID

Who's the biggest earner: Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo ?

Forbes magazine revealed the astronomical amounts earned by the two best footballers in the world, but they don't even come close to Tiger Woods, Schumacher and Mayweather.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi during a La Liga Clásico. From Archive.
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Forbes is a business magazine with a penchant for compiling rich lists, and has had the bean counters furiously totting up the amounts earned by football's most famous rivalry: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. So the question is, who has earned more?

The Real Madrid number 7 has earned around $550 million dollars in his well-oiled career so far, the number drops to a mere €481.69 million when converted into euros, imagine how much that would have been in pesetas.

Cristiano celebrates 2015/16Cristiano celebrates 2015/16

The mercurial little Argentinian has accumulated about $100 million dollars less - about $450M over the course of his stellar career, some €394.03M euros. Of course, Cristiano is a bit older than Leo, the Real Madrid man is 31 and the Barça star is 28, so el blanco did have a bit of a head start.

Corporations want to turn everything into a 'brand' these days, and both the 'CR7' and 'Team Messi' brands are growing, lucrative entities: In February Ronaldo was the first athlete ever to reach 200 million followers on social media, with more than 210 million followers between Facebook (111.4M), Instagram (57.3M) and Twitter (42.1M), and counting.

That's a powerful reach, an audience that many companies pay good money for exposure. Take a look at Cristiano's Twitter and see how much of the content is actually product placement. Those posts are for sale, and both players earn very well from their social media accounts.

Neither, however, have quite made it to the level of this old pro: David Beckham. During his playing days he piled up around the same amount of cold hard cash that Messi has right now, but if you count the swag 'Golden Balls' has in the bag since he hung up his predators, his till rings in at €569.15 million.

Still, football doesn't make it into the top shakers and makers of the sports world. Basketball for example, leaves the recently retired Kobe Bryant floating on a comfortable velvetine pillow of about €569.15 million, boxer Floyd Mayweather has amassed a fortune of €612.92M, Michael Schumacher motors on at €700.48M, but none can compare with Tiger Woods, the Godfather of golf: $1.4 billion dollars, €1, 225, 850, 000M euro.