Football boot sponsorship deals provide lucrative ‘additional’ income to those at the top of the game. Becoming the face of a brand’s footwear also opens up other avenues for big name players, such as money-spinning contracts in other associated domains such as clothing, men’s grooming, television and billboard advertising as well as promotional events.
Here I take a look at which football superstars earn the most for sporting a particular brand's boot.
These are the Biggest Football Boot Sponsorship Deals in the game today – read it and weep!
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) - Nike - £1 million per season
At £1m a season, Wayne Rooney has one of the biggest deals with arguably the biggest sports brand on the planet. Despite the controversial England striker having a far from squeaky-clean image, the Manchester United star is the face of the Nike T90 Laser IV boot. Only last April he lost his £600,000 a year endorsement with Coca-Cola after a foul-mouthed outburst was seen by millions on television, as he screamed the F-word into a camera after scoring a dramatic hat-trick against West Ham. Despite this Nike have stood by their man and Rooney is relied upon by the company to shift their boots by the bucket-load!
The Nike T90 Laser IV (above) has been designed to offer ultimate precision and power. Its adaptive shot shield technology is divided into 'Power' and 'Swerve' zones. The upper region, or the strike zone, is designed to flex naturally with the fit as you contact the ball while giving you some added power. The lower region, or swerve zone, features fins that are strategically positioned and sized to allow for closer feel on the ball while supplying added bend when you need it. Both zones are designed to flex naturally with ball contact, allowing natural movement of the foot.
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Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) – Puma – £1.25 million per season
Since landing in Manchester from Madrid in the summer of 2011 Agüero became an instant hit in the English Premier League, scoring goals regularly and helping Manchester City to win the Premier League title in May in dramatic fashion, scoring the winning goal in the final minute on the last day of the season. Last September Aguero became a landmark signing for Puma’s rapidly expanding stable of football stars, on a massive four-season deal, after persuading him to quit Nike. The Argentine international will become a 'central' figure in Puma's forthcoming global marketing campaigns over the coming years, wearing Puma's line of football boots for a long-term period, beginning with the Speed v1.11.
Visit the Puma Football Bootroom
The best player in the world is only fourth on this list – how does that work? Thankfully for adidas, the contract with the two-time FIFA Balon D'or winner arranged his football boots deal back in March 2006, before his ascent to mega-superstardom, so adidas have been paying relatively little to have Messi in their wildly-popular adidas F50 adiZero range.
The adidas F50 adiZero miCoach boot (above) has taken footwear in the sport to a new level. Last November it was revealed that the Barcelona superstar had spent months developing the world’s first intelligent football boot with manufacturers adidas. It records player-specific data with an innovative miCoach Speed Cell chip placed in the cavity of the outsole. The boots – which store data including: speed, average speed, maximum speed, number of sprints, distance, distance at high intensity levels and active time for up to seven hours after a match or training – transmit on-pitch information to tablets, PCs and Macs using a wireless link.
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Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona) – Puma – £3.2 million per season
Another one of big-spending Puma's massive recent signings is Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has has turned his back on Nike in order to sign a lucrative £16 million boot deal with sportswear giant Puma. After rigorous testing, Fabregas decided last September that he will be sporting the brand-new Puma PowerCat 1.12 boots (below). The 25-year-old former Arsenal captain put pen to paper on a five-year contract and Fabregas will be the flagship player for the PowerCats. As a result the midfield maestro - a member of Spain's double UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup winning team, jumps into the top three on the list of the Biggest Football Boots Sponsorship Deals.
The PowerCat 1.12 features the new PUMA 3D DUO Power Shooting Technology, applied to the kicking area on the inside of the boot. Made from an innovative thermoplastic material with two different degrees of hardness, the boot has the advantage of being both highly responsive with extremely high rebound properties. The newly created PUMA 3D PST DUO technology enables improved grip on the ball through its exposed elements, and instead of absorbing the energy it increases the kicking power of the player. The kicking area employs a soft K-Leather while the lightweight microfiber material in the lateral quarter supports the midfoot and helps to keep the weight of the boot to a minimum.
Visit the Puma Football Bootroom
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) – Nike – £5 million per season
Cristiano Ronaldo signed a whopping £20 million deal with Nike and stands to rake in £5 million-a-year. The deal negotiated in 2010 (the same year the first Nike CR Mercurial was launched) instantly rocketed Ronaldo into the upper echelon of sponsored athletes in any sport. As well as the face of their Mercurial line of Football Boots, for their money Nike are also getting a player with power, tricks, a signature style of free-kick and model good-looks. Despite technically being less successful at Madrid than at Manchester United, Nike will be banking on the Portugal international to constantly be challenging for titles with Los Blancos before his contract expires.
The Real Madrid forward is an advocate of Nike's Mercurial range and netted an incredible 53 times last season - including 25 times with his right boot and nine with his left. Designed for global icon Cristiano Ronaldo, the Nike Mercurial range of boots are the pinnacle of one of the most technically advanced, innovatively designed football boots ever created. Ronaldo is the heartbeat of every football boot Nike Mecurial produce.
On 24 February 2010 at a Nike Football event in London, Cristiano Ronaldo launched the second release of the Mecurial Vapour Superfly series.
On 16 March 2011 Nike unveiled the third incarnation of the Superfly series – the Mercurial Vapor Superfly III. The Mercurial Vapor Superfly III received its official on-pitch debut on 19 March 2011, when Cristiano Ronaldo and Mesut Özil played in the Madrid derby.
On 14 April 2011, Nike revealed the Nike CR Mercurial Vapor Superfly III (below), a version of the Mercurial Vapor Superfly III to be worn 'exclusively' by Cristiano Ronaldo. Whilst not featuring any technical updates to the standard Superfly III, the Nike CR Mercurial Vapor Superfly III featured an all-over 'Safari' print, that was designed specifically for Ronaldo, an all-over leopard-skin print in black and white, with contrasting safety-vest orange Nike Branding. The concept being that it set the man and the boot apart from the competition! The major innovation for the Superfly II soccer shoes was the development of the Nike Sense adaptive traction technology. A revolution in boot technology, Nike engineered a boot that combines a unique one-piece upper with a traction configuration sole-plate. Designers created an adaptive stud that can extend and retract by up to 3mm, based on ground conditions and pressure exerted by the player. Next-generation Nike Flywire technology was incorporated into the boot’s streamlined upper to provide a unique lightweight, strong and more dynamic fit.
On March 19, 2012 the Nike Mecurial Vapour VIII boot (below) was released. The special features of the boot is that Nike no longer uses the sense studs and 4 studs for the heel counter now Nike uses a whole new stud design for traction and 2 studs for the heel counter. This implant of the Mercurials do not include a carbon fibre soleplate, but instead uses the fibreglass soleplate Nike has been using for 2 years for the standard Vapors. Nike no longer uses Flywire but uses a thin layer of microfibre that has a suede finish, which is said to be for control. Ronaldo currently wears The Vapor VIII, but it was not designed and marketed exclusively for him. Other players that wear the boot include Juan Mata, Neymar, Andrey Arshavin and Mesut Özil.
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David Beckham (LA Galaxy) – adidas – £7 million per season
You just cannot keep this man down. David Beckham will forever by synonymous with Adidas, having signed his first deal with the sportswear manufacturers early on in his playing career. The former England captain still wears adidas predators and has a unique deal in which he gets a cut of every boot sold. Beckham's deal with adidas is the result of some shrewd negotiation by 'team Beckham.'
Currently he can be seen wearing adidas Predator LZ DB (above and below), in a white, pink and black colour combination. The Predator LZ marks the first time that adidas have been able to incorporate so many Predator elements into a single boot, thanks to the new Hypertouch synthetic material used for the upper. Soft rubber ribs on the forefoot vamp use a recessed surface to create a ‘vacuum’ effect for a great first touch. SL Rubber on the instep toe area for a ‘high risk/high reward’ combination of spin and power when striking the ball. Finally rubber ‘Ribs’ on the medial out-step provides a precise ‘second skin’ feel when dribbling. The LZ is also the first adidas Predator to feature miCoach technology, with the latest Predator compatible with the same Speed Cell as the F50 adiZero and adiPure 11pro, thanks to it’s modified SprintFrame design.
The LA Galaxy midfielder pockets a percentage of every pair of Beckham-branded adidas football boots or piece of training apparel he personally endorses.
Given the desirable designs often reserved for these items, it’s no surprise to see Beckham pocketing more than any other footballer with his Football Boots Sponsorship Deal.
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# Figures correct up to the end of 2011/12 domestic football season.