Neymar's £23m per year football boot deal with Puma is the largest individual sports sponsorship contract in history.
Football is one of the most lucrative sports in the world, hence, footballers are among the richest athletes on the planet. Apart from their salaries, endorsements, bonuses; players also sign individual sponsorship contracts and one of the highest of such are football boot deals.
Major boot brands like Nike, Adidas and Puma want their products advertised by the best players and as such, are prepared to do almost anything to sign players at the peak of their careers.
That means more insane money for the players: Cristiano Ronaldo’s lifetime deal with Nike is reported to be worth over $1 billion.
Lionel Messi’s partnership with Adidas is believed to earn him £18m million per year.
Neymar’s £23m per year deal with Puma is the largest individual sports sponsorship contract in history.
In addition, the quest for marketing superiority also means that brands are increasingly signing young players with huge potentials to boot deals while still in their teenage years.
Manchester City midfielder, Phil Foden, was just 14 when he signed up with Nike. Eduardo Camavinga of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies are also among the youngsters who penned sponsorship agreements in their teens.
In 2019, Youssoufa Moukoko of Borussia Dortmund signed a 10-year mega deal with Nike that is worth a total of €10m.
In this post, FootballOrbit brings you the top 10 biggest football boot deals in the world (2023).
How do football boot deals work?
Signing a boot deal with a particular brand will usually require the player to wear and use the brand’s products for training and in games.
Although for some elite players, wearing the particular branded football boot is only one part of an overall brand ambassadorial role that can include personal appearances and photo-shoots, recording advertisements, commercial and social media activities as well as corporate responsibilities.
Furthermore, the endorsement deals of most footballers does not only cover the boots but also things like clothing, hats/caps, wristwatches, electronic goods, sunglasses and headphones.
Issues can arise when a player has to juggle the obligations of his club, national team and individual personal commercial partners.
Moreso, in addition to the basic fees that players will be paid to wear a certain brand’s boots, there are also performance-related bonuses that can take their earnings earnings even higher.
The top 10 biggest football boot deals in the world in 2022.
10. Mohamed Salah — Adidas (£2.5m)
Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, is one of the most marketable faces in football — especially in Africa and the Middle East.
Salah — who also has endorsement deals with Pepsi and Vodafone — has a £2.5m-per-year football boot deal with Adidas.
The Egyptian forward wears the Adidas X18 boot.
9. Marco Verratti — Nike (£2.5m)
Italian midfielder, Marco Verratti, was formerly signed to Puma but his deal expired in 2017.
Thereafter, he started wearing blacked out boots, before he was picked up by Nike in a £2.5m deal.
The PSG man now wears Nike’s Hypervenom Phantom III boots.
8. Paul Pogba — Adidas (£3m)
Juventus midfielder, Paul Pogba, is a big part of Adidas’ football advertising after signing a 10-year deal worth around £30m in 2014.
Pogba regularly justifies the £3m per year fee that Adidas pay him by featuring in TV and poster adverts.
He wears the Adidas Predator boots.
7. Antoine Griezmann — Puma (£3.5m)
Antoine Griezmann had already established himself as a megastar before his transfer from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona in a deal worth around £108m back in 2019.
Although things didn’t turn out well at Camp Nou, the Frenchman still has one of the biggest football boot deals in the world with Puma.
Puma signed Griezmann in 2009 and he extended his contract with the German brand by penning a 10-year £3.5m-a-year deal in 2015.
In 2019, to celebrate Griezmann’s 10-year anniversary with Puma; a special boot — a limited edition Future 4.1 NETFIT Grizi priced at £229 — was released.
Antoine Griezmann was probably the biggest football superstar with Puma until Neymar came along.
6. Gareth Bale — Adidas (£4m)
There was a time when Gareth Bale was one of the biggest stars in world football.
The Welsh forward used to be a marketing man’s dream, with EA Sports and Lucozade among the brands associated with him.
Adidas are also one of Bale’s sponsors and pay him around £4m per year to wear their boots on the pitch.
Gareth Bale wears Adidas X Ghosted.1 edition.
5. Mario Balotelli — Puma (£5m)
When Mario Balotelli’s deal with Nike expired in 2014, Puma quickly snapped him up on a whopping £5m per year contract.
The deal came at the peak of Balotelli’s popularity.
Although the Italian has gone under the radar in recent years, his blockbuster 10-year deal with Puma certainly has not.
Balo wears Puma’s Ultra 1.1 edition boots.
4. Kylian Mbappe — Nike (£14m)
Kylian Mbappe is one of the best and the fastest footballers in the world.
Moreso, he has the potential to be the best player on the planet in the future. So, most brands want to be associated with him.
After a huge battle with Adidas, Nike eventually signed Mbappe in 2019.
The French forward was handed a 10-year deal, worth around £140m in total — £14m per year.
The contract is said to be valid as long he plays in a top league.
Kylian Mbappe can regularly be seen wearing the Mercurial Superfly VII Elite MDS 003 edition.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo — Nike (£15m)
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most valuable sportsmen on earth and it is not surprising that Nike signed him on a lifetime contract worth $1 billion.
The deal covers so many aspects of the Portuguese forward’s commercial activities, but the boot deal earns him around £15m annually.
CR7 wears the Mercurial Superfly VII Elite CR100 edition boots.
Ronaldo is one of just 3 athletes to have signed a lifetime agreement with Nike — alongside basketball stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
2. Lionel Messi — Adidas (£18m)
In 2017, Lionel Messi signed an extension to his football boot deal with Adidas. Like Ronaldo, he signed a lifetime contract.
Messi’s Adidas contract is thought to be worth around £18m per year.
The Argentine has his own sub-brand of boots named: Adidas Messi.
Lionel Messi wears the Adidas Nemeziz Messi 19.1 ‘Copa’ edition.
1. Neymar — Puma (£23m)
Neymar left Nike in 2020 to join rivals Puma in a deal that is the largest individual sponsorship contract in sports history.
The deal is worth a staggering £23-million-a-year — moving him ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Moreso, the Puma contract is worth more than double the £11m he was paid by Nike back in 2011.
Neymar wears the Jogo Prismatico Mercurial Vapor 13 Boots.
Do all professional footballers have boot deals?
Not every professional footballer has a boot deal, although in reality very few, if any, will have to pay for their own boots.
Furthermore, whenever a player is wearing blackout boots in an official match, it is a clear sign that he currently has no valid boot contract.
Manchester City’s new superstar striker, Erling Haaland, is one of the top footballers without a football boot deal to any brand at the moment.
The likes of Adidas, Puma and Nike are known to pay through the nose to have the most recognisable names in football wear their boots, but none have signed Haaland yet.
Do football players wear new boots every match?
Footballers do not wear a pair of new boots in every game.
Players take time to get used to new boots — which can be tight and need to stretch — and would not want to do this every time they play.
On average, a football player will don a pair of boots every 4 to 6 weeks.