Over the years, professional footballers have become sources of inspiration for millions worldwide. Seeing a footballer go through struggles to become one of the most notable names in sports can motivate many to do the same.
However, footballers are not only inspiring figures on the pitch, but off of it as well. The fans of certain footballers love to fashion their hairstyle like their favourites or wear the same kind of accessories. This has led many famous brands to link up with the footballers to launch various products that their supporters will want to purchase.
While the star footballer from any major European club is already a rich person, they get even richer by becoming part of iconic brands. They get a lot of money from the deals, sometimes even more than what they receive from their clubs.
So here we rank the 4 biggest sponsorships ever bagged by footballers.
Leo Messi’s Adidas deal helps lifts him to billionaire status
Lionel Messi is undoubtedly one of the best footballers of all time, if not THE greatest. He is recognized by everyone who watches football and even those who don’t follow the sport regularly. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is a magnet for high-profile brands, who all want to be associated with him because of his massive fanbase.
In 2017, Messi penned an incredible lifetime boot contract with German giants Adidas – which means he’ll wear only their boots for the rest of his career. The Argentine reportedly gets £ 25m per year thanks to the sponsorship, meaning he has the most lucrative sponsorship deal in the history of the sport. The PSG man is also sponsored by the likes of Pepsi, Gatorade, Lays and Budweiser, putting him on course to become a billionaire before retirement.
Neymar’s gigantic sponsorship with Puma
Neymar Jr is one of the most popular footballers in the world. He’s also someone who loves to show off by wearing expensive clothes and sporting new styles. That’s why he’s an attractive option for many brands and is an ambassador for many of them. In 2020, the Brazilian ended his boot sponsorship deal with Nike which was worth over €100m over an 11-year period.
He then bagged an even better one with another German company, Puma. Neymar negotiated a gigantic €25m (£21m)-a-year deal. Apart from that, Neymar also has sponsorship deals with Red Bull, his own cologne fragrance with Diesal and is an ambassador for REPLY jeans – getting him the big bucks.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s lavish deal with Nike
While Messi represents Adidas, his rival Cristiano Ronaldo has formed a partnership with Nike. The Portuguese superstar loves to show off on and off the pitch, as he’s the face of many well-known brands from around the world. But the most money he gets from a sponsorship deal is also among the most lucrative ones received by any footballer.
In 2016, Ronaldo signed a 10-year deal with Nike in which they promised him at least £14.7m per year. That’s just the basic earnings, as winning major things like a trophy or Ballon d’Or increases the deal, with him receiving £18.3m in 2016 and 2017.
Ronaldo has sponsorship deals with notable brands, including DAZN, TAG Heuer and American Tourister, in addition to having his own brand of fragrances as well as gyms and hotels across Europe.
Kylian Mbappe gets even richer with Nike sponsorship
Kylian Mbappe is the “next big thing” in football, with many predicting him to take up the mantle after the Messi and Ronaldo dominance ends. The Frenchman already gets paid a record salary from PSG, rumoured to be £42.5m per year after he re-signed with them this summer.
But Mbappe is also a massive icon for young footballers and has associated himself with major brands. The forward has a lucrative boot deal with Nike and signed a 10-year deal with them in 2019 worth £14m-a-year.
Not just that, but Mbappe also advertises for the likes of EA Sports and Hublot to add more money to his account. Like his teammate Messi, Mbappe also looks set to become a billionaire before the end of his career.