The Euro 2016 qualifiers kick off this weekend, showcasing the very best in talent in European football.
While on the pitch prowess certainly plays a part, brands look to a number of other factors, including fame and public perception, to assess the marketability of players for their campaigns.
Sports intelligence company Repucom has pulled together the top 10 most marketable players in European football. Its rankings take into account global awareness, appeal, aspiration, trust, and sponsorship revenue, and are based on its own in-house data and a global survey of consumers across 13 markets. Repucom says its survey of 7,000 people represents the views of 1.6 billion consumers worldwide.
10. Eden Hazard (Belgium/Chelsea FC.) Just 28% of the global audience is aware of Hazard, but he has a much higher profile in Belgium, where he is known by 80% of the population. He pulls in around $1.1 to $1.7 million in sponsorship revenue each year.
9. Gareth Bale (Wales/Real Madrid.) Bales generates $5.6 million to $6.8 million in annual sponsorship revenue, mainly from top sponsor Adidas. The winger has a particularly high global aspiration score: 76%.
8. Mario Götze (Germany/Bayern Munich.) The attacking midfielder may not pull in as much sponsorship revenue as his peers ($3.4-$3.9 million,) but he scores extremely highly in terms of appeal amongst both women (76%) and men (74%,) and a global aspiration score of 79%.
7. Mesut Özil (Germany/Arsenal.) The Arsenal midfielder's positioning in the rankings was mostly determined by his global aspiration score (74%) and that he receives $4.5 million to $5.6 million in sponsorship money each year, mostly from top sponsor Adidas.
6. Andrea Pirlo (Italy/Juventus.) A massive 97% of Italians are aware who Pirlo is (versus a global awareness level of 41%.) And people don't just know him, they want to be him: He has an aspiration score of 84% in Italy, and a global aspiration score of 79%.
5. Arjen Robben (Netherlands/Bayern Munch.) 77% of people globally aspire to be like 31-year-old Robben, and he also has a strong global appeal among men (72%.)
4. Robin van Persie (Netherlands/Manchester United.) Good-looking van Persie has a higher global appeal among women (77%) than men (75%.) He also scores well in terms of global aspiration (80%.) That said, his sponsorship revenue is lower than many in the rankings ($1.1 million to $1.7 million.)
3. Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona.) The Barca midfielder has a huge 90% national aspiration score in his native Spain, compared to a none-too-shabby global aspiration score of 80%. His trust score in Spain is 87% (71% globally.) In fact, Iniesta commands the highest perception scores of any of the other top 10 players in the rankings.
2. Wayne Rooney (England/Manchester United.) National awareness of Rooney in the UK is at a massive 95%, compared to just 54% globally. His sometimes bad boy reputation means his trust scores are a paltry 62% globally and 53% nationally. That said, he still rakes in $5.1 million to $6.2 million in sponsorship revenue, mainly from Nike.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid.) Ronaldo pulls in a meteoric $34 million to $39 million in sponsorship revenue each year, the vast majority of that coming from Nike. Some 83% of the world knows who he is, and 79% of people globally want to be him. But his trust score (67%) and his appeal scores (women: 67%, men: 66%) still fall below many of his peers.
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