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, 23, Soccer
The world’s next great soccer player
Representatives: Mino Raiola
Key partners: Adidas
2015 ranking: 11
World soccer is regenerating. The next three years will bring a swathe of continental tournaments and a Fifa World Cup, all of which will be contested by players from a new generation. Players like Paul Pogba of France, perhaps the most sought-after on the planet.
Still only 23, this rangy, inventive and explosive midfielder has been serving notice of his potential for some time now. This season he has assumed additional responsibility at Italian giants Juventus – who came from deep in the field to win a fifth straight Serie A title at a canter – since the departure of senior figures like Carlos Tevez and Andrea Pirlo from the side that reached the Uefa Champions League final in 2015. Pogba may well grace that stage again – if not with the ‘Old Lady’, then with one of the many big-spending sides said to be seeking his signature.
It is at international level that Pogba could make his most telling contribution, however. Flanked by exciting talents like Antoine Griezmann and Anthony Martial, he will lead the most promising French team in a decade on at home at Uefa Euro 2016 and on the way to Russia for a world title bid in two years. Much is expected of them.
Pogba cuts a dramatic, enigmatic figure and seems a natural fit for major campaigns, but the boot deal he agreed with Adidas in March is his first and only commercial contract of significance. That is unlikely to remain the case for long. EC
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