Recently relegated to the third step of this particular podium, Cristiano Ronaldo is beginning to make his claim to the Real Madrid hierarchy that he should become the best paid footballer in the world.
In the aftermath of a man of the match performance in the Club World Cup final, which came so soon after his latest Ballon d’Or award, there is a sense inside the club that the winger has his eye on another leaderboard of sorts.
Renewing his Real deal 13 months ago, Ronaldo has since dropped behind Paris Saint-Germain’s world record signing Neymar and Lionel Messi when it comes to earnings, with the Barcelona star raking in around 50 million euros per season.
That contract is nailed on for three-and-a-half more years at this moment in time, with the salary awarded to the player considered abundant within Los Blancos.
But the arguments for Ronaldo matching or surpassing his Ballon d’Or rivals continue to grow, with one big for-life contract perhaps on the horizon for the Portuguese icon.
That said, for now there is no intention to open up any such discussions on the Madrid side of things, with the acknowledgement that this particular landscape is vulnerable to being shaken up if their star man decides to lobby for a better deal.