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
Gabonese, 27, Soccer
African soccer’s most electrifying talent
Representatives: Oscar Damiani Jr
Key partners: Nike
2016 ranking: 25
After Borussia Dortmund’s final game of the 2016/17 Bundesliga season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang burst into tears as he was presented with the Torjägerkanone, the award handed out to Germany’s top scorer for the season, in front of the club’s fans in the famous Yellow Wall. His tears were interpreted as a clear signal that the Gabonese felt he had played his last game for the club, with Europe’s top dogs thought to be in the hunt for his signature.
Whether he moves on or not, Aubameyang is a player good enough to star at any team in the world. As the leading lights of African soccer from across the last decade - the Touré brothers, Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto’o, et al - are fading, Aubameyang stands unrivalled as the continent’s greatest talent, the sport’s leading figure in a rapidly expanding commercial market.
"He is definitely a world class striker who has an incredible consistency in his game. Over the past few months, he has developed steadily. With him, you always realise that he is happy on the pitch." – France and Atlético Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann.
With only one major partnership in place, with his boot supplier Nike, he feels like an under-exploited resource for endorsements, particularly after showing willingness for an easy publicity stunt when he celebrated a goal with a Spider-Man mask custom-made by the US sportswear giant. Hugely popular back at home in Gabon and in his adopted Europe, Aubameyang’s profile is set to grow and grow as he reaches his peak years. AN