By Victor Kanayo
Argentine captain Lionel Messi is currently leading the chart as the most marketable athlete in the world.
This was revealed after new data analysis released its report and the Inter Miami star led the way for the second time among 50 most marketable athletes.
Incidentally, his arch rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, is nowwhere in the top 20, rather he places 27th in the ranking.
According to Sports Pro Media, the Inter Miami playmaker had a riotous 2022-2023 after winning the World Cup in Qatar with Argentina in December.
That also led the 36-year-old inking a lucrative move from Paris Saint-Germain to MLS over the summer and his first start in Florida has earned him even greater exposure to a global audience.
Messi is believed to be preparing to win a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or at the end of October, which will burnish his star further.
Others Down The Line
Second to Messi is NBA superstar LeBron James, with seven-time NBA All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo in fourth.
Messi is one of just four footballers to round out the top ten, including USWNT star Megan Rapinoe, who retired in September.
Her team-mate Alex Morgan sits third in the rankings, two places higher than her position in last year’s list, and Kylian Mbappe, who moves up one place from 10th to ninth.
US alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin is ranked sixth, followed by seven-time world champion Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton – the highest-ranked Briton – Simone Biles, and F1’s newly crowned world champion Max Verstappen rounding out the top 10.