Cristiano Ronaldo is world's most marketable footballer, ahead of Lionel Messi | inside World Soccer

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo topped the list of the world's most marketable footballers going into the 2014 World Cup, beating his long-time rival Lionel Messi.

According to a study by global sports marketing research experts Repucom, Ronaldo has secured his place as the most well-known and best "trend-setting" footballer today.

Repucom used a blend of eight different attributes of the footballers, measuring public perception from appeal to influence on modern society and pop culture.

The data measured the perceptions of 16-69 year olds in 13 countries including Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Turkey, the UK and the US, representing the views of more than 1.5 billion people.

Paul Smith, Founder and CEO of Repucom, said: "With just over two weeks to go before the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off, the world's gaze is firmly on the competing teams and players.

"The World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world and as such, big brands, official partners or otherwise, will and are using its global appeal to drive sales.

"Endorsements of celebrities and in this case footballers have an incredibly powerful way of doing just that creating an emotional connection with a brand.

"The star can raise awareness and create a buzz for brands and products at a time when breaking through the marketing clutter that surrounds such huge events is critical for commercial success."

Globally, 83.9 percent of people know of Ronaldo and in markets such as Italy, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Argentina, this figure is above 95 percent.

The 29-year-old is also seen as the best trendsetter of all the players with 82.5 percent of people saying he reflects today's trends in society.

Smith added: "Ronaldo is an endorser's dream. His value is as important to the teams he plays for as they are for the companies that endorse him.

"Global awareness of Ronaldo is what drives his commercial power and with over 82 million facebook likes and 26 million Twitter followers, he is also one of the most liked in the business."

Barcelona forward Messi ranked second ahead of club teammate and surprise third placed entry Gerard Piqué, whose global presence has risen due to his relationship with pop singer Shakira.

Fernando Torres may have struggled for form since his move to Chelsea, but being well known in markets like China has contributed to the striker being fourth on the list.

Repucom's full Top 10 most marketable footballers is as follows:

Repucom's full Top 10 most marketable footballers


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