PARIS (AFP) - Cristiano Ronaldo remains Europe's and the world's most marketable footballer, known by more than 80 per cent of people around the world, according to a study released on Thursday.
The 30-year-old Real Madrid scorer beats England's Wayne Rooney and Spain's Andres Iniesta on a new European top 10, according to the Repucom sports marketing firm.
Dutch forwards Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben and Italy's Andrea Pirlo round out the top six in Europe.
"In terms of overall marketability, globally, Ronaldo leaves the other European players in his wake," declared the firm which said 83 per cent of people around the world - 85 per cent of all men and 80 per cent of all women - have heard of the Portuguese superstar.
It estimated that Ronaldo earns between 30 million (S$45.5 million) and 35 million euros a year from sponsors.
Rooney of Manchester United is known by 54 per cent of people around the world and rakes in between 4.5 million and 5 million euros each year from sponsors. Iniesta is known by 48 per cent of people and earns between 2 million and 2.5 million euros a year in sponsorship.
Van Persie and Robben both had a 46 per cent global awareness ranking, according to the study of 6,500 people asked in 13 major football nations - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and the United States.
Pirlo was known by 41 per cent of the consumers asked.
The top 10 was rounded out by Germany's Mesut Ozil and Mario Goetze in seventh and eighth and Gareth Bale of Wales followed by Belgian Eden Hazard in 10th.
Even though they were less well known globally, Ozil, Goetze and Bale all had much higher sponsorship revenues than many of the leading five.
Bale's annual sponsor earnings were estimated at 5 million to 6 million euros - more even than Rooney - while Ozil's was 4 million to 5 million euros and Goetze 3 million to 3.5 million euros.
Iniesta is the most trusted footballer in the top 10. He had a global trust approval from 71 per cent of those asked, while the impetuous Ronaldo got 67 per cent and Rooney was even lower on 62 per cent. Van Persie and Goetze were tied on second with 70 per cent.
If Lionel Messi had been counted on the European list, he would have been beaten by Ronaldo, according to Repucom, known by 74 per cent of people globally and 99 per cent of people in his native Argentina.