Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to open new hotel in Marrakech, Morocco

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal's leading hotel chain, Pestana, will open a new hotel in Marrakech in 2019.

CR7 -- a trademark of the Portugal captain's initials and his squad number-- and Pestana Hotel Group will invest €40 million on the 4 star, 168-room hotel in Morocco which will then be leased. The project will be financed and owned by Moroccan investor M Avenue.

The hotel in Marrakech is the fifth under the Pestana CR7 Lifestyle hotels brand with one each already opened on the island of Madeira, where the two partners hail from, and in Lisbon.

There are two hotels currently under construction, which will be open late this year, in Madrid and in New York.

Forbes considers Ronaldo the world's highest-paid footballer -- and highest-paid team athlete -- with $93m (£71.7m) in earnings, made up of an annual salary of $58m (£44.7m) and $35m (£26.9m) in endorsements.

Ronaldo issued a statement to Media CR7 which read: "I wanted to be in the hotel industry for quite a while and the opportunity happened quite naturally as a result of the relationship with the owner and chairman of the Pestana Hotel Group, Dionísio Pestana, who built the largest international hotel brand of Portuguese origin starting with one first hotel on my home island, Madeira.

"We met a few years ago and we gradually converted a mutual admiration into a business project that is meaningful for both."

Ronaldo opened his first hotel with Pestana, Pestana CR Funchal, in July 2016.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is an outstanding sportsman, who has become an icon with global reach. It is certainly a lot faster and easier to enter new markets where the Pestana brand was not known yet," a Pestana Hotel Group source told ESPNFC.

"Our focus right now is in these five hotels but we are always analysing new opportunities in markets where the lifestyle segment is strong and the brand will be cherished."