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Ronaldo vs. Messi

They’re arguably the two best players on the planet right now, but how do they stack up in the business stakes? Kipp pits Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi.


Ronaldo, the 2008 World Player of the Year, became the highest paid footballer on the planet when Real Madrid bought him from Manchester United in a surprisingly acrimony-free deal. His six year contract paid an estimated $15.5 million in the first year, and will increase by 25 percent every year from there. Not too shabby – Kipp certainly wouldn’t complain.

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Messi is a long way from the poor house himself. He is the 2009 World Player of the Year, the European Footballer of the Year and the UEFA Champions League Player of the Year, and has the salary to match. He has the third best salary in the world (his fellow Barcelona player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is second), taking home around $13.5 million a year. Not enough to out gun Ronaldo in this match up

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As if more than $15 million a year wasn’t enough, the real income for players comes in the shape of sponsorship deals. Cristiano Ronaldo’s main sponsors include Nike, Coca-Cola and Geogio Armani. The flying winger reportedly bagged around $16 million in endorsements in 2009 – more than his playing salary. The biggest of these, from what we can uncover, is with Nike, to the tune of 6 million euros a year.

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Lionel Messi also has a history with Nike, but he ditched the company in 2005 in favor of rival manufacturer Adidas. His boot deal is worth a relatively small amount, though – just under $600,000. According to reports, from Adidas and his other sponsors (including games maker Konami) last year he earned just over $5 million from sponsors. Once again, playing aside, he’s not quite in Cristiano’s league

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Ah, the great intangible. Who has the better brand? And how do you measure it? Fortunately, we don’t have to. Reuters reports that the University of Navarra's Economics, Sport and Intangibles Research Group calculated media value by monitoring internet presence and volume of press articles. Their verdict? Of footballers, Ronaldo fetched up second in the rankings with a total of 19.6 points. Not bad.

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But the most valuable media brand, according to the Spanish university? That would be one Lionel Messi, of Barcelona and Argentina. He grabbed a whopping 21.6 points in the ranking, relegating Cristiano into second and taking the point for this category.

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You know Kipp: We like to look at the factors that other websites might overlook. So for this category, we took it literally. Who appears in the best ad? Cristiano’s latest effort for Nike is short, simple, and utterly self centered. Seriously, Crisitano, do you really need all those mirrors? And watching videos of yourself? It’s like the man has a bizarre obsession with himself. Which, in fact, he more or less admits he does.

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Messi, meanwhile, pops up in Adidas’s altogether more classy affair, along with another famous face. Kipp like’s the very European look and feel of the visuals and the clever little finish. It’s a little bit try-hard, however, and in many ways we prefer the understatement of Cristiano’s training session. But we can’t get over all those mirrors, so it looks like Messi is first to the line in this contest.

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The argument rages in homes, businesses and restaurants across the land. Who is the better footballer, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Argentina’s Lionel Messi? To find out we did the only sensible thing – we showed arguably the best goals by each player from last season to someone who knows nothing about soccer. Their verdict on Ronaldo’s efforts: “Is it me or is his body the wrong shape?”

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“I like that stripy shirt,” says our resident soccer non-expert, which is not much help. “And this guy doesn’t show off so much.” And there you have it – Messi scores with effortless cool, while Ronaldo makes a big song and dance. We know which we prefer.

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Ronaldo seems to have an entrepreneurial spirit. Not content with his millions in salary, and even more in sponsorships and endorsements, the Real Madrid winger has begun his own chain of boutique clothing stores. The first branch of CR7 was opened in his home town of Portugal, and according to one news report, the store “includes all the essential wardrobe items for a metrosexual Mediterranean stallion, including diamante studded belts, jeans with leather pockets and patent buckled loafers.”

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For Mr. Messi, Kipp was unable to uncover any such ambition. Perhaps he is satisfied with the millions of dollars he owns from his footballing talents and image rights. Maybe, instead of trying his hand at retailing, Messi is concentrating on his soccer skills – which may explain why he beat Ronaldo to the title of world’s best last year. Either way, he loses out in this category.

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Oh dear, oh dear, Cristiano. How did it all go so wrong? The Portuguese ace has gained a not-so wholesome reputation after more than one incident involving prostitutes. In fact, in one story the UK’s sleaze loving News of the World describes him as “prostitute loving soccer ace.” Incidents like this will do nothing to help either his personal or professional image, and so are bad news for his brand.

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So far, it seems that Messi has avoided any sordid temptations or pitfalls. The closest anyone can link him to scandal is a former girlfriend, who was caught up in a sex tape scandal, but that doesn’t seem to have touched the player himself. His image is clean, wholesome and stain free. An easy win against the “prostitute loving soccer ace.”

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  1. srkfan on July 9, 2010 9:27 pm

    torres is bettter than both but messi is better than c ronaldo

  2. Morgan Sibanda on October 3, 2010 12:36 pm

    It is surprising that Isupport both Barcelona and Real Madrid, but I like Leonel Messi more than Cristiano Ronaldo, however, am also a fun of Jose Morinho and Iwish him the best at Real Madrid, because Iwould like him to help Barcelona in the fight to end the English clubs domination in Europe, because in my own opinion English football is not sex and entertaining, but phisical and more money oriented.Send me as much information on those three aspossible both in either English or Spanish

  3. Germany fan on October 12, 2010 11:50 am

    In two appearences in the worldcup, Messi did not yet score for his country , not even one goal !
    is that the best player ???


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