The myth that t-shirt sales can pay for a player’s transfer has become reality this time. On the 27th of August, Cristiano Ronaldo signed a contract of £12.9 million to transfer to Manchester United, 12 years after his last game with the Red Devils.
The first 12 hours of the announcement of Ronaldo’s number were marked by a sale amounting to £34.2 million of ‘number 7’ jersey shirts, followed by a sale of £187 million, completely recouping his buy-in.
However, it is not enough to pay for Ronaldo’s entire recruitment at Manchester United. With his wage of £20 million a year, his total cost would be at £52 million by the second year, buy-in included. Furthermore, Manchester only owns 7 percent of the £60 shirt, which makes £4.20 per shirt. Indeed, the process of shirt-selling is a different process than popular belief.
What happens is that on one hand, brands like Nike or Adidas produce and distribute the shirts, or the products in general. On the other hand, the club itself earns only a certain annual fee for allowing the brands to do so. This means that the club would have to sell 12.4 million additional football shirts for it to pay for Ronaldo only with that income.
Ronaldo’s reintegration also spiked Manchester United’s shares in the public trade of the New York Stock Exchange by 8%, which makes up for around a £212 million total increase in the value of the club.
This rise of prices shows that Ronaldo is a valuable addition to the net worth and the future of the club. Not only was the deal beneficial for Manchester United, but also for Juventus Football Club, the club which Ronaldo transferred from.
For example, its company shares rose about 1.2% on Friday, when the deal was confirmed, demonstrating the importance of the substantial deal. Ronaldo is not an average sportsman. But, could this happen with any other football player?
Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or five times, in addition to winning over 30 other trophies and awards over his career. In comparison to Messi, the never-ending battle continues, shifting from Barcelona vs. Madrid to Paris vs. Manchester.
After Messi’s dramatic departure, his new ‘number 30’ sold out in record time on the PSG’s online store, selling over 830,000 shirts in the first 24 hours, and 150,000 of those in the first seven minutes, breaking the record of 520,000 shirts sold by Ronaldo when he joined Juventus in 2018.
However, Ronaldo’s triumphant return to his home club cannot be topped. It took him the space of 12 hours to completely break the record as the highest daily sale on a sports product outside of North America, and with that, he became the biggest-selling player in the 24 hours transfer to a new club, stepping in front of Messi, as well as Tom Brady and LeBron James.
Almost twice as many ‘number 7’ shirts have been bought this summer in comparison to Messi’s PSG shirt. ‘Number 7’ return to Manchester United has been triumphant on many other levels, as so has Messi’s arrival at PSG. It is interesting to compare both transfers as to which one is the biggest.
The two clubs, already popular, gained another level of viewership, by gaining millions of additional followers on Instagram in just a matter of hours. Messi’s popularity on social media helped him claim the top spot for the highest-paid soccer player in the world according to Forbes. On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most followed person on Instagram.
Putting aside his partnerships with Nike, Clear, and his CR7 brand, he is set to earn around $125 million before taxes during the 2021-22 season. Lionel Messi is positioned as number two in the list, with earnings of $110 million, plus around $35 million from his endorsements from brands such as Adidas or Pepsi.
Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United is one for the books. Not only is he a great player, with a lot of skills and drive, but he is also followed by a great reputation, and that is what makes the most money. Who he represents, and how much profit he makes from this is largely thanks to his name.
Billions of young children look up to him as a role model, someone who started from the bottom and ambitiously made it to the top, by doing the one true thing that he loves the most.
He is perhaps a role model for all of us, after all.