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.