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
French, 24, Soccer
The world’s most expensive soccer player
Representatives: Mino Raiola
Key partners: Adidas
2016 ranking: 2
Paul Pogba’s record-breaking UK£89 million (US$113 million) return to Manchester United was the most expensive of homecomings. The English soccer side’s social media accounts declared the midfielder ‘#POGBACK’, generating 229,000 retweets as their new signing was filmed dancing alongside UK grime artist Stormzy in a promotional Adidas advert. It wasn’t so much a player transfer as it was a commercial celebration.
Put simply, Pogba is a box office showman. Eternally held up against his price tag, the 24-year-old is scrutinised like no one else in the Premier League but displays of his unique gifts became more common as the season wore on. By its end, he had helped his readopted club win the Uefa Europa League, leading them back to the biggest club stage – the Champions League.
“The real Pogba is the one you see every time. When I'm off the pitch I cannot act, I'm not an actor, and when I'm on the pitch I like to joke and laugh, and off the pitch I'm the same. For me I'm normal, I play football and do what I love. I just love life.” - Paul Pogba, speaking to Thierry Henry on Sky Sports.
Soccer is still holding auditions for its heirs to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but Pogba’s coronation isn’t far away. The symbol of a rebuilding Manchester United and the conductor of France’s thrilling collection of extreme talents at next year’s Fifa World Cup, his stock will only continue to rise. For most players there exists an obvious ceiling, but it’s only a matter of time before Pogba smashes through his. SC