With his return to Manchester United drawing unprecedented levels of international hype, Ronaldo began delivering for his new-old team even before he took the field. According to metrics analyzed by LoveTheSales, the football legend's "7" Man Utd jersey sold so many units that it put Messi's massive PSG haul to shame in mere days.
Sales for Ronaldo's shirts — currently available for pre-order via Man Utd's web store for $31 apiece — have eclipsed £187 million (approximately $259 million) since the squad confirmed that Ronaldo would once again wear lucky number 7 in early September. Some figures put Ronaldo sales at £32.5 million (approximately $45 million) within the first 12 hours of the kits going on sale.
In the days since it was confirmed, Ronaldo's shirts have reportedly been purchased nearly twice as much as Messi's "30" PSG jersey, making Ronaldo's gear the fastest-selling jersey in Premier League history. Apparently, nearly a quarter of official Man Utd gear peddlers have had their supplies drained.
It's not about looks — though I'm sure Manchester fans love the streamlined kit — but about the Ronaldo Ripple, which is apparently several times more powerful than the Messi Effect, and Man Utd is reaping the benefits.
Given that Man Utd paid about £12.9 million (approximately $18 million) to secure Ronaldo, the club has more than made its money back on the deal. Even once it pays his £26.52 million salary (approximately $36.6 million), it'll still be sitting pretty.
Not that Messi is any slouch, of course, as his shirt has scored an estimated £104 million (approximately $144 million) in sales for PSG.
Remember, these numbers aren't widely verified; they're gauged by "tracking sales... across online retailers," according to LoveTheSales co-founder Stuart McClure. An imperfect science, to be sure.
These figures are hardly unbelievable, though, considering Ronaldo's track record of bringing home the proverbial bacon every time he changes teams. Plus, enthusiastic Ronaldo supporters on social media have only amplified the buzz around his new kit as the champion footballer finally took to the pitch on September 11.
"It had to be him," swooned Man Utd on Twitter. It was speaking on the goal he had landed by half-time but might as well have been talking about those record-smashing jersey sales.