“For the second time, Lionel Messi leads the chart as the most marketable athlete, while Cristiano Ronaldo, the previous year’s winner, drops a significant 26 spots.”


Superstar footballer Lionel Messi has once again claimed the top spot in the list of the world’s 50 most marketable athletes, according to a recent data analysis. This achievement comes on the heels of his significant milestone during the 2022-2023 season, winning the World Cup with Argentina in Qatar. Messi, now 36 years old, made a high-profile move from Paris Saint-Germain to the MLS during the summer, and his debut with Inter Miami in Florida has amplified his exposure to a global audience.

In addition to his on-field success, Messi is gearing up for a potentially record-breaking eighth Ballon d’Or win at the end of October, further enhancing his star power. According to Sports Pro Media, his exceptional sporting achievements have translated into top-tier marketability, placing him at the pinnacle of the list for the second time, having previously done so in 2020.

Among the top ten marketable athletes, Messi is one of only four footballers. Second on the list is NBA sensation LeBron James, with seven-time NBA All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo securing the fourth spot.

Notably, last year’s winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, has experienced a precipitous decline in his ranking, falling to 27th place following his move to the Saudi Pro League team Al-Nassr.

Here is the full list of the top 10 most marketable athletes:

  1. Lionel Messi (football)
  2. LeBron James (basketball)
  3. Alex Morgan (football)
  4. Giannis Antetokounmpo (basketball)
  5. Megan Rapinoe (retired footballer)
  6. Mikaela Shiffrin (alpine skiing)
  7. Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1)
  8. Simone Biles (gymnastics)
  9. Kylian Mbappe (football)
  10. Max Verstappen (Formula 1)

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