LISBON: Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo announced Tuesday he will invest over USD 40 million in hotels bearing his 'CR7' moniker in his native Portugal, Madrid and New York. Ronaldo unveiled his plans to link up with the Pestana Hotel Group, who like him are natives of Madeira, with 'CR7' hotels planned in three cities linked to his career - Funchal, Lisbon and Madrid - and another in the pipeline for New York where he has been linked with Major League Soccer in the future.
"My world is that of football but life changes and I always wanted to own a hotel," the 30-year-old former Manchester United player told a press conference in Lisbon.
The triple Ballon d'Or winner joined Real Madrid from Man United in 2009 and has a contract which runs until 2018.
"It was impossible to throw myself alone into a project of this scale, to each his own area of competence. Pestana is the best Portuguese group in this business," he said
"The first project will be born in Madeira, where our roots and our families are," explained the 123-times capped international, adding that the hotel will be located close to the museum dedicated to his career that he financed at Funchal, the capital of the island.
"All investments are split on a 50-50 basis" between Ronaldo and the hotel group, for a total of sum of USD 81 million, explained Dionisio Pestana, owner and son of the founder of the hotel group.
The best paid footballer in the world with USD 76.6 million in earnings last year, Ronaldo already has a 'CR7' fashion line, and has lent his image to many other brands.
The first hotel is scheduled to open in summer 2016 in Madeira. It will be followed by Lisbon where Ronaldo moved as youngster and played for Sporting Lisbon with a Madrid site planned for 2017. Pestana, founded in Madeira in 1972, is the biggest hotel group in Portugal and is present in 16 countries across Europe, Africa and America with 87 hotels, six golf courses and two casinos, with an annual turnover of USD 240 million