Lionel Messi

50 Most Marketable 2016 - Lionel Messi
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Lionel Messi

CRITERIA

Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.

  • Value for money
  • Age
  • Home market
  • Charisma
  • Willingness to be marketed
  • Crossover appeal

Argentinian, 28, Soccer

An all-time great cementing his legacy

Representatives: Jorge Messi

Key partners: Adidas, PepsiCo, Gillette, Electronic Arts, Huawei, Tata Motors

2015 ranking: 22

 

Adjectives, superlatives, doting missives – all are by now so hackneyed they are but meaningless cliché. When all is said and done, when today’s generation of soccer fans reflect on this time in years to come, perhaps only numbers will do justice to the talent of Lionel Messi.

At last count, the near-mythical maestro had won five Ballons d’Or, four Uefa Champions League titles, eight La Liga trophies, and surpassed 500 career goals. At 28, the magnificent number ten’s playing days are numbered, too – except nobody’s counting those. If there are more shots at that elusive Fifa World Cup crown to come, many will hope they won’t be his last, for no Spanish tax court filing or Panama paperwork can detract from what it means to watch Messi doing what he does best.

Recent endorsements with companies hailing from India and China – not to mention a promotional contract with the organisers of Dubai Expo 2020 – only underline the unique universality of the Argentinian’s unassuming, transcendental appeal. Long after he kicks his final ball in anger, Messi will be counting commercial dollars all the way to whichever bank brand marketers are breaking for his signature. ML


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