He may not have added the World Cup to his Euro 16 success and hattrick of Champions Leagues.
But with another Ballon d’Or looking likely and a move to Juventus complete, Cristiano Ronaldo’s status is as much that of multinational as footballer.
The 33-year-old had long ago moved onto another plane in his nine years at the Bernabeu as the galactico of galacticos.
His 34 hattricks in Spain are a record for La Liga, but one triple crown he missed out on this year was as the best paid athlete on the planet. Ronaldo had basked in the accolade for the past two years, but this time Forbes magazine gave that particular title to longtime rival Lionel Messi ahead of boxer Floyd Mayweather.
As befits a man of his renown, CR7 has no fewer than 330 million “followers” on social media — more than any other athlete, meaning sponsors queue to make him the face of their merchandise.
Those sponsors include French telecoms giant SFR, Swiss watch firm Tag Heuer, Japanese gaming conglomerate Konami, oil behemoth Castrol and the Emirates airline.
That breadth and depth of marketing reach means there is no risk of his being reduced to a mere “advertising hoarding,” Jean-Philippe Danglade, author of “Marketing et Celebrities,” told recently. His strongest association, going back to 2003, is with Nike with whom he two years ago signed a new long-term sponsorship deal worth a minimum reported 20 million euros a year and that he indicated was “for life.”
Forbes drew a comparison between the ‘bling-bling’ image of Ronaldo and the more reserved image of Messi.
Whereas in 2016 Messi reportedly lifted Adidas sales by an estimated $53.3 million, the Ronaldo effect lifted Nike into the stratosphere by some 500 million.
A simple Ronaldo post to social media can shift millions, as witnessed by a post to Instagram after Portugal won Euro 2016 which according to sports sponsorship valuation platform Hookit was worth $5.8 million to Nike.
With his off-the-field interests covered, Ronaldo can concentrate on his upcoming Italian job, showcasing his brand in a country where fashion and football happily co-exist in a market seemingly tailor made for him. — AFP