Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Brazilian, 20, Soccer
The Seleção’s latest star in the right place at the right time
Representatives: Cristiano Simões, Octagon
Key partners: Adidas
2016 ranking: New entry
It was only three years ago that Gabriel Jesus was painting the streets of his native São Paulo, preening Brazil in preparation for the 2014 Fifa World Cup. The 20-year-old’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric.
After winning Olympic gold last year on home soil, Jesus fired Palmeiras to their first Brazilian top-flight title in 22 years, convincing Pep Guardiola to spend UK£27 million (US$35 million) on bringing him to Manchester City. Now, he projects a confidence that far transcends his youth, playing for one of the richest clubs in world soccer and spearheading the attack of the sport’s most successful national team.
“Gabriel is a player who pursues success with hard work and competence. He has everything to become one of the greatest in Brazilian football history.” – Zico, former Brazil and Flamengo midfielder.
Although he arrived in Europe as something of an unknown quantity, Jesus soon quelled any doubts with seven goals in his first ten appearances. His new Premier League club will give him the global platform to showcase his talents and add to an endorsement portfolio that is far less cluttered than that of his mercurial compatriot Neymar.
Following Brazil’s semi-final humiliation in 2014, it’s almost too easy to label Jesus the saviour of his national team, but in a country where soccer is a religion it seems fitting that he might inspire the Seleção’s redemption at next year’s World Cup in Russia. SC