By Shanjayan Muniappan
Published: 4:17 AM, June 30, 2015
SINGAPORE — The image rights of Cristiano Ronaldo (picture), the world’s highest-paid footballer, are now being managed by a company owned by Singaporean businessman Peter Lim.
In a press release yesterday, it was announced that Mint Media, a Hong Kong-based company owned by Mr Lim, had secured a six-year deal with the Portuguese star, who is the reigning FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, the award handed out to the best football player in the world.
Mint Media will own and oversee all of the 30-year-old’s image rights, except those relating to Real Madrid, the Spanish football club for which he plays.
Due to confidentiality reasons, contractual details, such as how much the deal is worth, were not revealed. But in response to queries from TODAY, a spokesperson for Mint Media revealed that Asian companies were very interested in working with Ronaldo.
“We are seeing a lot of interest from Asian companies, including those from Singapore looking to expand their markets into North and South Americas as well as Europe, where Ronaldo has a huge following,” said the spokesperson.
“We believe they would be keen to have Ronaldo, who is one of the most accomplished and popular sportsmen in the world, endorse their products. And we hope the collaborations will see Ronaldo making more appearances to Asia in general and Singapore in particular.”
Ronaldo, who previously played for record-20-time English league champions Manchester United before joining Real in 2009, is the third-highest-paid athlete in the world, behind boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, according to Forbes.
Among the brands Ronaldo endorses are sportswear giant Nike, nutrition and weight management firm Herbalife, Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, and fashion and lifestyle brand Sacoor Brothers. A Forbes report this year stated that he draws US$27 million (S$36.4 million) from endorsements alone.
Ronaldo will be Mint Media’s first client as it looks to venture into sports marketing, and Mr Lim — who last year became owner of Spanish club Valencia — expressed confidence that the football star’s brand “will continue to grow”.
“Peter has a valuable and extensive business network, and I have always admired his entrepreneurial savvy and ability to grow businesses,” said Ronaldo in a statement.
When the six-year deal ends, Ronaldo will be 36, which traditionally is the twilight of the careers of many professional footballers. But the spokesperson said: “We believe Ronaldo’s popularity will transcend his football career, as he also has a strong following among non-football fans because of his good looks and charisma.”