When Lionel Messi scored the winning goal in the 2022 Fifa World Cup final against France, it seemed he was able to control the narrative of the game. Just four years prior, Messi’s chances of emulating his compatriot Diego Maradona were in doubt after Argentina was eliminated in the round of 16 by France. Critics believed that at 35 years old, Messi would be too old to make a significant impact in the tournament. However, Messi proved them wrong by leading Argentina to victory and scoring a total of seven goals, including two penalties in shootouts, and assisting in three others. Despite the efforts of Kylian Mbappe, who was considered Messi’s successor as the world’s best player, Messi solidified his status as the greatest soccer player of all time. This victory also confirmed his appeal to brands, as many had already labeled him “The GOAT” in their marketing material. Companies eager to secure Messi as their ambassador recognize his impressive achievements, including winning the Ballon d’Or seven times and scoring the most goals for a single club. With over 600 million followers on Instagram and Facebook, Messi’s online presence is unparalleled. When he left Paris Saint-Germain, the team lost over one million social media followers, while his new team, Inter Miami, rapidly gained followers after announcing his arrival. These numbers, along with his global popularity and iconic status, led SportsPro to name Messi the world’s most marketable athlete for the second time this year. During his time at Barcelona, Messi was in high demand from sponsors, even among a team brimming with stars. Brands were drawn to him because of his exceptional talent and universal appeal, making him the primary choice for endorsements. Unlike some athletes who simply chase the highest paycheck, Messi takes a considered approach to the campaigns he participates in. He and his team prefer to be involved in the creative process and are selective about the brands they associate with. Messi’s endorsement portfolio consists mainly of global brands like Adidas, Pepsi, Gatorade, and Budweiser. In addition to lucrative boot deals and partnerships with well-known brands, Messi has been part of unique and captivating campaigns. One notable example is the ‘Messi X Budweiser 644’ campaign launched in 2020 to celebrate Messi breaking Pele’s record for the most goals scored for a single club. Each of the 160 goalkeepers Messi scored against received a bottle of Budweiser for each goal he scored against them while wearing a Barcelona shirt. The appeal of Messi for global brands lies in his relevance and devoted fanbase worldwide. Regardless of the market, Messi has a massive following and is universally recognized as the greatest footballer of all time. Due to his immense popularity, campaigns featuring Messi generate extensive media coverage, millions of views on social media, and significant brand value. Over the years, Messi has become more comfortable in front of the camera, allowing him to embrace entertainment-focused partnerships with companies like Hard Rock International and Cirque du Soleil. Yet, he remains true to himself and carefully manages his image and endorsements, ensuring that he aligns with brands that reflect his values and appeal to his fanbase.
Olivia Wilson is a trendsetter in the world of digital culture. With an eagle eye for emerging trends and viral phenomena, she keeps readers up-to-date with the latest online sensations, memes, and pop culture trends. Olivia’s passion for staying ahead of the curve is infectious.