Ronaldo pips Messi to most marketable footballer title

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten rival Lionel Messi to be named the world’s most marketable footballer.

Nike ambassador Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the most marketable footballer in the world.

According to Repucom, the Champions League winner and world payer of the year is the most internationally recognised and influential footballer. 

More than 83.9 per cent of people know who the Real star is and in key football markets such as Spain, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Argentina, this figure tops 95 per cent. The Portugal national team captain is also the most influential player with 82.5 per cent of people believing he reflects today’s pop culture trends. 

Four time world player of the year Messi ranked in second following an injury ravaged season that contributed to a disappointing trophyless season for his club Barcelona FC.

Messi’s Barcelona team mate Gerard Piqué, who has won everything in the game, including three Champions League trophies and the World Cup in 2010,  completed the top three. More than half (58 per cent) of people have heard of the Spanish defender, while 97 per cent of the population in his home country are aware of who he is. The footballer’s marriage to pop star Shakira has also helped lift his profile.

The rest of the top ten is made up of Premier League pair Fernando Torres and Wayne Rooney, La Liga stars Andres Iniesta, Neymar Jr and Iker Casillas and Zlatan Ibrahimović and former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry.

The rankings are pulled from Repucom’s Celebrity DBI Index – a ranking of more than 5,000 celebrities in 15 markets – and is based on the players’ global awareness figure.  

The list will be welcomed by Nike, which sponsors six of the ten footballers in comparison to Adidas’s three. Nike and Adidas are pitting Ronaldo and Messi at the forefont of their marketing campaigns in a bid to show how their products will enhance their performances at next month’s tournament. Nike will be the dominant World Cup kit provider, supplying the kits to 10 of the 32 competing nations, one more than Adidas.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here