James Rodriguez: Playing to be Marketable

Although Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are widely recognized as some of the most talented soccer players in the recent years, 23-year-old James Rodriguez from Colombia is quickly stealing the spotlight.

He began the new year by winning the 2014 FIFA Puskas Award for his stunning strike in a World Cup win over Uruguay. Edging out finalists Stephanie Roche and Robin van Persie, Rodriguez claimed more than a prestigious soccer award. The Colombian midfielder has also secured extreme marketability.

After an impressive World Cup performance, James Rodriquez has entered a new realm of success and marketability. According to Colombia Reports, “James Rodriguez has seen his market value increase 44% to $53.6 million, making him the world’s sixth most expensive player on the market.”

Before the world’s most popular soccer tournament, Rodriguez was valued around $37 million. Not only did Rodriguez’s fame and value skyrocket, but the total value of the Colombian national team also grew 88%, estimating at $111 million.

This drastic increase in market value has significantly boosted sales in James Rodriguez jerseys for both Colombia and Real Madrid. Reportedly, 345,000 replica shirts have sold since the arrival of the World Cup star to Real Madrid. Only 48 hours after his move, €20 million worth of merchandise were sold.

Some even speculate that Rodriquez will continue to make notable marketing achievements: “The expectation is that the player (James) will sell product at the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo who had sold over one million shirts since arriving at Real Madrid” (Gerardo Molina). Clearly, his transition to Real Madrid has already made profound impact in the soccer industry.

Most recently, adidas has tapped into Rodriguez’s growing popularity by incorporating him in their newest campaign: “There Will Be Haters.” Rodriguez, along with soccer stars Gareth Bale, Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema are featured in a controversial short film, promoting the latest editions of the Adizero F50, Predator Instinct, Nitrocharge and 11Pro. Adidas will launch their highly anticipated collection at retail February 2.

According to Hypebeast, this piece showcases adidas’ latest collection and “highlights the way in which the foursome’s perceived lifestyles and unparalleled performance make them an easy target for all the haters out there.”

The best athletes often face criticism for their performances, especially on social media. Not surprisingly, Rodriguez takes a bold approach to combat any negativity. Regardless if you are a loyal fan of his soccer abilities, it is admirable the way Rodriguez respectfully and confidently presents himself to the public.

Many consider Rodriguez more than just a soccer icon; his emergence as a Real Madrid’s newest attraction is a statement of economic, financial, and market power. Unlike previous soccer stars, like Ronaldo and Beckham, Rodriguez’s brand is something new and different: “James is a young player who is going to be an icon at Real Madrid for a long time. He has broken the mold and is helping to show Colombia in a positive new light without stigmas” (Alfred Di Stefano). Not surprisingly, the Colombian media are beyond ecstatic. Rodriquez’s rise to fame has allowed soccer fans to take pride in their country.

James Rodriguez’s breakthrough to international success has been so abrupt that it took his family, his country, and the world by storm. Through his notable soccer achievements, charismatic personality, and national pride, Rodriguez has quickly become a desired marketing player in the soccer industry.

Image Courtesy of: ABC

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