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Meet the billionaire former tennis star whose has triple Cristiano Ronaldo’s net worth

You might think that Cristiano Ronaldo’s reported £410 million contract at Al-Nassr would be enough to make him the richest athlete of all time.

However, the fortunes of a billionaire ex-tennis star show that he still has a ways to go before he can claim that crown.

The man in question is Ion Tiriac, who, despite retiring from professional tennis in 1979, has amassed personal fortune of £1.2 billion.

As you might have already worked out, given the fact that he’s hardly a household name, he didn’t star making serious money until after his career was over.

Having only made around £200,000 from tennis, with his best Grand Slam singles placing being the semi-finals of Wimbledon in 1970s, the Romanian would go on to make a series of shrew investments in later life.

So impressive were those investments in terms of return, that he now has a personal fortune which is more than that of Ronaldo and LeBron James combined.

The 83-year-old made his money through leading Tiriac Group, which invests in real estate, financial services and a host of other businesses.

As per Forbes, the success of these ventures saw him become Romania’s first official billionaire in 2007, which allowed him to accrue a collection of 400 luxury car and bike models. Not bad.

By comparison, Ronaldo is thought to have a net worth of around £400 million as of 2022, meaning that, even with his Al Nassr deal, he still won’t reach billionaire status just yet.

Ion Tiriac with Rafael Nadal. Credit: Alamy
Ion Tiriac with Rafael Nadal. Credit: Alamy

The 39-year-old is regularly near the top of current athlete rich lists, alongside the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

Ronaldo’s current deal with the Saudi Arabian club sees him earn a staggering £175 million per year, according to the Standard.

If that number isn’t eye-watering enough, that roughly equates to £3.6 million per week.

Furthermore, his Al-Nassr salary doesn’t even factor in other revenue streams, as the Portuguese international also makes money from prior deals with Armani, Unilevel, Nike, Herbailfe and DAZN.

Ronaldo signing his contract with Al Nassr. (Image Credit: Alamy)
Ronaldo signing his contract with Al Nassr. (Image Credit: Alamy)

Prior to signing for the Saudi Pro League club, Ronaldo was revealed as the third-highest paid athlete in 2022, behind only Lionel Messi and LeBron James.

But a year later, he was named the highest-paid footballer in the world.

In fact, Forbes ranked Ronaldo as the highest-paid athlete of any sport with expected total earnings of $260 million.

Could Ronaldo one day become the first ever billionaire footballer? Time will ultimately tell, but he’s certainly on the right track as things stand.

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