SportsPro Poll Results - Most marketable soccer player
Last week - in the build up to the release of the 'World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes' feature in the June edition of SportsPro - we asked our readers 'Who is the world's most marketable soccer player?'
While the poll was largely made up of players who also starred in 2010's edition of the list, a number of players, including breakthrough World Cup sensation Mesut Ozil and Brazillian star Neymar, also put themselves in contention following consistently impressive performances over the past 12 months - something that has not gone unnoticed by sponsors.
Though Barcelona striker Lionel Messi is at present widely regarded as the best player in world soccer, something that was up for debate at this time last year, it is the 23-year-old’s rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has stolen the votes of our readers. Winning comfortably with 60.89 per cent of the vote to Messi's 24.19 per cent, Ronaldo takes top sport and proves that commercial success isn’t always dictated by on-field talent.
The Real Madrid star has both the talent and the charisma to transcend the sport and has replaced David Beckham as the face of Armani. Crucially, he is often seen as someone who appeals to a wide variety of demographics, unlike the arguably more talented Messi. If further proof of his marketability were needed, his contract with Nike is worth US$32.5 million per year, while he reportedly shares 50 per cent of his image rights with Spanish club Real Madrid.
Messi meanwhile finished the voting in a respectable second place. Ranked as the world's 10th most marketable athlete in 2010's edition of the list, the Argentine’s talent is undeniable but his marketability has been limited in the past by his unassuming and camera-shy nature.
Tied for third place with 4.44 per cent each are 19-year-old Brazilian starlet Neymar and German playmaker Mesut Ozil. Both had breakthrough years in 2010. While Ozil's talent shone brightest at the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, earning him a move to La Liga giants Real Madrid, Neymar, who plies his trade in Brazil and as such is still relatively unknown in Europe, has proved his worth over the past year by signing a number of lucrative endorsement deals with major brands including Panasonic and Nike. And, with the 2014 Brazilian World Cup on the horizon, the Santos striker looks well-placed to win the affections of both the host nation and soccer fans globally.
In fourth place with 2.02 per cent each are high-profile Premier League players Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres. Though both were ranked as mid-table athletes in SportsPro’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes list in 2010, the past 12 months have not been overly kind to either player - Torres has suffered an unprecedented drop in form while Rooney has been hit by a string of off-field controversies - something that has severely affected their attractiveness to sponsors and has cast doubt over their inclusion in 2011's feature.
Finishing the poll in fifth and sixth place respectively are African players Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto'o. Included in last year's list for their talent, but primarily for the role they played as the faces of Africa's World Cup, their stock has declined considerably since 2010. While they still remain two of the continent's most recognisable athletes, both players' contribution in their respective teams has dwindled of late - something reflected in our readers' voting.
The 2011 edition of the World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes special feature will appear in the June edition of SportsPro. Click here to subscribe to the magazine and see if the SportsPro writers agree with our readers' choice and how some of the most marketable soccer players hold up against the biggest names in world sports.
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