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
British, 20, Soccer
English soccer’s latest burst of hope
Representatives: Impact Sports Management
Key partners: Adidas, Beats by Dre
2015 ranking: New entry
There can be no denying the story of English soccer in 2016: the near-impossible rise of Leicester City to the Premier League title. But while the East Midlands’ club’s triumph looks a one-off – or a 5,000-1 off – theirs were not the only feats to capture the imagination in the world’s most-watched domestic competition.
A youthful Tottenham Hotspur side’s own unforeseen, if altogether more likely, championship challenge collapsed painfully in the final stages. Yet for much of the season they mixed endeavour and enterprise in breathless fashion. No one better represented that effervescence than 20-year-old Dele Alli – a talent to be coveted by teams far and wide, whose upcoming adventures in an England shirt and the Uefa Champions League should garner even greater attention.
In a breakout season, his first in the top flight, the Milton Keynes-born midfielder showed skill and steel. He is no saint, as a late-season red card for punching demonstrated, but his is a disarming nature. Alli was delivered from a tough background to the academy at lower-league MK Dons; he gives the impression of a professional thoroughly enjoying his work.
Even at a tender age he is a player capable of dominating games, and also of delivering individual moments to draw gasps – not least in his Vine-friendly goal of the season against Crystal Palace in January. His daft little wave to camera is also now the stuff of internet memes, but Alli looks capable of becoming a player of more enduring substance. EC
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