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2018 FIFA World Cup: 5 Players to Watch

2018 FIFA World Cup: 5 Players to Watch

4 MInute Read

·The most well-known players in FIFA are faces for many notable brands leaving entry for new sponsors difficult due to high clutter, price and category exclusivity.

· Brands can turn to marketable up and coming players that are competing in this year’s World Cup as their next brand ambassador.

· MKTG sat down with our in-house soccer specialist, Artsy Biba, to determine a list of five players marketers should have on their radar.


As the 2018 World Cup in Russia approaches and the games begin June 14th, anticipation with fans and marketers is building. Many big-name players in FIFA are ambassadors for some of the most notable brands in the world, such as Cristiano Ronaldo for Nike, Herbalife and Tag Heuer and Neymar for Red Bull, Gillette and Panasonic. These players are over saturated with current sponsors which creates barriers for new brands to partner with them due to high clutter, high cost and category exclusivity. This leads sponsors to determine who the most marketable up and coming players are in the league. To help determine this, we sat down with Artsy Biba, one of our in-house soccer specialists, to create a list of five players marketers should have on their radar at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup.

#1 Timo Wener

(National Team – Germany; Club Team – Red Bull Leipzig)

 Source: Be In Sports

Source: Be In Sports

Artsy: “At only 21 years old, Timo has already beaten a number of records in his native Germany. He is the youngest player to reach 50, 100 and 150 Bundesliga appearances, as well as being the youngest player to score two goals in a top-flight match in Germany. He has also become an integral part of the county’s national team, helping Germany claim the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with his return of three goals earning him the tournament's Golden Boot award. Timo currently plays for RB Leipzig but he’s constantly being rumored to join one of the leading European club teams in 2018. In one of his recent interviews he said ‘Playing in the Premier League is a dream for me. I would like to play for two or three clubs, and Manchester United are one of those clubs’ (source FourFourTwo). Given Germany are the defending World Cup champions, Timo will have an opportunity to further boost his transfer price and appeal to potential sponsors by shining in Russia this summer.”

#2 Carlos Vela

(National Team – Mexico; Club Team – Los Angeles FC)

 Source: USA Today

Source: USA Today

Arsty: “Representing the newly launched LAFC, Carlos will be one of the leading representatives of MLS at the 2018 World Cup considering USA did not qualify for the tournament this time. At 29 years old, Carlos is one of the key players on the Mexico’s squad and has helped the team to secure its latest international trophy’s – 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Vela is an attractive partner for brand’s who seek to target the 50M+ Hispanic population currently living in the US and many of whom are avid soccer fans. His existing and potential new sponsors may also benefit from incremental promotional efforts that MLS will likely put behind its players who will represent the league in Russia this summer.”

#3 Paulo Dybala

(National Team – Argentina; Club Team – Juventus FC)

 Source: Shopify

Source: Shopify

Artsy: “24-year old Argentinian is a key player on the Italian Juventus FC squad, who due to his creative style of play, pace, talent, technique and eye for goal, he has been nicknamed "La Joya" ("The Jewel" in Spanish). However, despite leading his club team to two Italian Championships in a row, Paulo has so far been in the shadow of Lionel Messi when it comes to the Argentinian national team. 2018 FIFA World Cup may be an opportunity for Paulo to make a statement and position himself as the next big star on his country’s national team. Such scenario can rapidly increase his demand and boost potential personal endorsement fees, so the upcoming few months might be the last opportunity for the brands to partner with the player before his stock increases if Argentina secures another successful run this year (they’ve reached the finals in 2014).”

#4 Harry Kane

(National Team – England; Club Team – Tottenham Hotspur)

 Source: City A.M

Source: City A.M

Artsy: “England’s national team traditionally has a lot of buzz and expectations around its players. Fans in the UK are extremely passionate about the game but the team has had little success since their last World Cup victory in 1966. However, going into the 2018 World Cup the team finally has a world class striker – Harry Kane. With a total of 56 goals scored in all competitions in 2017, he has recently become Europe's top goal scorer, breaking the seven-year dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as Europe's top goal scorer in a calendar year. Partnership with Harry may be an interesting move for a large brand who would like to build association with England’s team but are not willing to take much risk. Unlike many other English players, Harry has never been involved into any kind of controversy and despite all temptations that come with being a young celebrity in his mid-20s, Kane spends most of his free time with his high school sweetheart (soon to be his wife) and their two Labrador dogs.”

#5 Son Heung-min

(National Team – South Korea; Club Team – Tottenham Hotspur)

 Source: ESPN

Source: ESPN

Artsy: “At 25 years old, Son has already become the most expensive Asian player in the world soccer’s history and the top Asian goal scorer in Premier League’s history. Partnership with Son may be attractive to major Korean brands seeking international exposure (KIA, Hyundai, Samsung) as well as international brands trying to enter the South Korean marketplace. The only caveat is that Son is still required to fulfill the obligatory 2-year long military service in his home country before he turns 28. However, there’s hope for the player and his sponsors. If the men’s national team performs successfully at the 2018 World Cup or wins the 2018 Asian Games, all of Korea’s players may be exempt from the service.”

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