Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app

Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid Offers Risky Investment Advice to Fans

September 22, 2017

Foul! For every sports star who develops a successful investment strategy, the field is strewn those who have lost millions.

3 min read

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese soccer megastar who plays for Club Real Madrid in Spain, is getting a red card from financial experts for giving risky financial advice to millions of fans.

The world of athlete endorsements is a multi-billion dollar industry. Michael Jordan has his Air Jordans. Serena Williams has her Beats by Dre headphones. And Caitlyn Jenner, formerly the runner Bruce, had her Wheaties. But you shouldn’t trust everything your favorite sports star gets involved with.

That’s particularly true when it comes to investment advice.

Ronaldo recently told his 59 million Twitter followers he was really happy with his partnership with an investment firm called Exness, and promoted it for its “highest level of services,” according to reports.

But what is Exness?

Exness, an online broker based on the island of Cypress, reportedly specializes in something called contracts for difference, or CFDs, which are derivatives.

The average investor has no business investing in derivatives, experts say, as they are based on speculation

Additionally, Exness reportedly allows investors to leverage their accounts, which in this case means they can borrow up to 500 times what they have on deposit to make trades, according to various reports. Here’s what that means: If you deposit as little as $500 in your account, you can borrow up to $250,000.

Securities regulators worry that can encourage investors to get into serious trouble by borrowing to make risky trades, for things they don’t understand.

“One has to question the legitimacy, credibility and morality of teams endorsing products around which there are some serious regulatory misgivings,” Simon Chadwick, a professor of sports enterprise at the University of Salford in Manchester, told Bloomberg recently. “Clubs and players need to become more mindful of the ramifications their commercial partnerships can have.”

Unfortunately, Ronaldo isn’t alone. Numerous football clubs in Europe have similar connections to brokerages, including Club Real’s rival Atletico de Madrid, and England’s Liverpool and Manchester teams, according to reports.

Wait, what’s a derivative?

Derivatives are complex, but high-risk investment tools. In the simplest sense, they are contracts between a buyer and a seller for an underlying asset–gold, or oil, bonds or the stock of a company are some examples– to be delivered at a predetermined price on a specific date.

The average investor has no business investing in derivatives, experts say, as they are based on speculation. Credit default swaps built on subprime mortgages, for example, are the derivatives that nearly sunk the U.S. economy back in 2008.  

One Irish judge reportedly called CFDs a “volatile form of gambling.”

Confused? Don’t worry, derivatives and their role in the market can confound even the most expert investors. That’s another reason why financial experts are shaking their heads at Ronaldo’s endorsement of this kind of risky investment.

Be careful about investment advice

We love athletes for their amazing abilities on ball fields, tennis courts, on soccer fields, and swimming pools. And more than a few are able to take their hard-won millions and parlay those dollars into successful investments.

Golden State Warriors basketball player Andre Iguodala, for one, has become a tech investor, working with the storied venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. And Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks has launched his own venture capital firm, Melo7, which has invested in Lyft and Casper.

Yet for every sports star who has made a success of their investment ventures, the field is strewn with plenty of others who have lost millions of dollars.

Famous cautionary tales include:


By Jeremy Quittner
Jeremy Quittner is the senior writer for Stash.

Next for you
How Fantasy Football Can Teach You About Investing

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
love and money politics budgeting market news social media

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit