Late last year, we reported that Grupo Pestana, Portugal’s biggest hotel operator, had partnered with Madeira-born soccer (or football, as it's known everywhere else in the world) star Cristiano Ronaldo to develop four boutique hotels in Portugal, Spain and the U.S. The projects, which are expected to have a total of 400 rooms, involved a €75-million investment—reportedly the largest ever for the athlete.
Ronaldo will reportedly invest half of the sum and own 50 percent of the joint venture. Under the name of Ronaldo's 'CR7' brand, the hotels will open in four cities that are "closely linked" to Ronaldo's life: Funchal, Madeira, where he was born; Lisbon, where he first started his youth career; Madrid (where he plays on the popular soccer team); and New York where he is considering playing Major League Soccer in 2018, when his Real Madrid contract expires.
Those plans are coming to fruition. The first Pestana CR7 opened over the summer on the player's home island of Madeira. Over the weekend, Ronaldo attended the opening of the 82-room Pestana CR7 Lisboa hotel in Portugal's capital. Rooms at the Pestana CR7 Lisboa reportedly start at around €200 per night and go up to €1,250 for a stay at the rooftop CR7 suite.
"Life is not just about football," Ronaldo told Portuguese sports site A Bola. "Although football is my grand passion, I must start to think about the future. I don't have many years left, about 10 more or less, so I must look to the future." Ronaldo is 31-years-old.
According to Spanish site Marca, €15 million has been invested in the partnership between Pestana and Ronaldo. Two more hotels are planned for Madrid and New York.
"When I was young I had the dream of having my own hotel," Ronaldo said at the launch. "Now I have two, and I am proud it is in Lisbon. I couldn't not have a hotel in Lisbon, a city which is part of my history as I have played here."
There is no denying it: Ronaldo is winning.