Cristiano Ronaldo is viewed as one of the best football players at the moment. His main competitor is Lionel Messi not only in terms of footballing ability, scoring goals and winning titles, but also in earning money.
In the past year Ronaldo has made a leap forward, he won the Ballon d'Or after Messi won it for 4 consecutive years and Ronaldo made an estimated $80 million compared to Messis' $64.7 million before taxes according to Forbes.
With his $80 million Ronaldo is the highest paid footballer during the 12 months between June 1, 2013 and June 1, 2014. But how much is $80 millions. For most people this is an inconceivable amount of money. So lets look at this figure by comparing it to two other incomes.
According to Wikipedia the average gross wage in Spain was €2019 per month by the end of 2012. Ronaldo's pre-tax income being approx. €65 million converted to Euro he could pay Spanish workers for a year or the lifetime gross incomes of workers in Spain assuming 50 years of work on average.
Ronaldo earns a lot compared to the average person in Spain, but Spain's richest citizen earns a lot more than Ronaldo. Forbes currently estimates Amancio Ortega's net worth at $58.9 billion and states that his fortune grew by $7 billion (approx. €5.6 billion) in the past year. For those $7 billion Ortega could pay Ronaldo's pre-tax income times or the average yearly gross wage in Spain times.
Ronaldo earns a lot of money. In a single year he makes more than dozens of average workers throughout their entire work lives combined. Still, Ronaldo's income is low compared to the world's super rich whose earnings are beyond conception.
I do think Ronaldo deserves to earn a good money, he entertains and brings joy to a lot of people and also gives some of it back to people in need. This applies to other football players as well, but I do feel that the income gaps between the average Joe and the rich and super-rich are pretty extreme and wonder where this is going in the future.