World Cup 2018: 50 Soccer Sex Symbols And Marketing Machines To Watch In Russia

We combed through a lot of players to come up with 50 of the best players whose marketing game is strong and/or has a heat meter that’s just as strong. Slide through to see which players made the cut. REUTERS
Ramadan Sobhi (Egypt). Age: 21. Position: Midfielder. Marketing Machine: Sobhi is seen as a rising star, and has been pursued but a number of international clubs. Although he doesn’t have any major endorsements or sponsorships, he’s young, so give it time. Heat Meter: With 4.2 million followers on Instagram, Sobhi’s heat meter is basically on fire. Reuters: John Sibley

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is exciting for many reasons. Who will win? What surprises will there be? How many billions of people will watch? But there’s one aspect of the games that isn’t getting as much attention as it should: What players have the most going on in the form of marketing and heat?

The FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association, English: International Federation of Association Football) World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Billions of viewers from around the world tune in—or attend if you’re so lucky—to see some of the best athletes in the world compete in a tournament that only comes around every four years. Since 1930, the FIFA World Cup has made stars and countless memorable moments, and 2018 is shaping up to be just as memorable.

Favorites to do well at the 2018 games, to be held in Russia and to run from June 14 to July 15, are Germany, Brazil, and France, but don’t count out Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal. Bookmakers also see England, Uruguay, and Croatia as underdogs to watch. But as has happened in the past, sometimes the teams to watch go by the wayside, giving room for a surprise team to rise up the ranks and win, as happened in 1954 with then West Germany. Their win is considered one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, with the Germans—who weren’t even a professional league—came out of nowhere to take the title. So you never know what will happen at the World Cup.

Perhaps the biggest player participating in the 2018 games is Cristiano Ronaldo, playing for Portugal. At 33 years old, Ronaldo is one of the biggest athletes in the world and regarded as one of the best football players of all time. He’s won countless awards, including three World Cups. Beyond football, Ronaldo is the definition of a marketing machine, with endorsement deals in the United States and internationally. And his heat meter is off the charts, with more Instagram followers than Beyonce. You know you’re huge when you’ve got more followers than Beyonce.

So while you can comb through the players and teams to watch, what we really want to know are what players are marketing machines and whose heat meters are off the charts. We combed through a lot of players to come up with 50 of the best players whose marketing game is strong and/or has a heat meter that’s just as strong. Slide through to see which players made the cut.

Sadio Mane (Senegal). Age: 26. Position: Winger. Marketing Machine: Word on the street (or field?) is that Mane is switching from Nike cleats to New Balance cleats. Keep an eye on those feet during his matches. Heat Meter: At 2.2 million followers on Instagram, not to mention being a celebrity in his native Senegal, Mane has it going on. REUTERS: Gleb Garanich
Eduardo Salvio (Argentina). Age: 27. Position: Midfielder. Marketing Machine: Not so high in the marketing department, but in Argentina, professional football players are automatically famous. Heat Meter: Salvio is all football, he doesn’t have time for any of that heat business. REUTERS: Carl Recine
Gabriel Jesus (Brazil). Age: 21. Position: Forward. Marketing Machine: Very. Backed by Adidas, with a long career ahead of him, if you were betting on a player, bet on Gabriel. Heat Meter: 7.4 million Instagram followers. Huge amongst football fans worldwide. And those eyes. Need we say more?Reuters: Andrew Boyers
Andres Iniesta (Spain). Age: 34. Position: Midfielder. Marketing Machine: 100 percent. A international football star, with a long career and even more sponsorship deals, “Marketing Machine” is Iniesta’s middle name. Heat Meter: 23.3 million followers, no big deal, nothing to see here.REUTERS: Susana Vera
Willian Borges Da Silva (Brazil). Age: 29. Position: Midfielder. Marketing Machine: Most definitely. From Nike to Sure deodorant, Willian is all about being a marketing machine. Heat Meter: Um, yes. Big time. 5.9 million followers on Instagram. Known for his hair, Willian’s heat meter is always on high. Reuters: Matthew Childs
Eden Hazard (Belgium). Age: 27. Position: Forward/Winger. Marketing Machine: Oh yeah. He’s cut a deal with Nike, and is a much sought-after spokesperson in his home country. He comes from a long line of footballers, so this is in his blood. Heat Meter: All the heat, and then add a little more, and you’ve got Hazard’s heat meter. REUTERS: Andrew Yates
Martín Cáceres (Uruguay). Age. 31. Position: Defender. Marketing Machine: On a smaller level. He’s a sought after defender, having played for many teams and countries, but comes up short in the marketing machine department. Heat Meter: Sure, he doesn’t have as many Instagram followers (under a million), but what he lacks in followers he more than makes up for in dreaminess.REUTERS: Alberto Lingria
Rúrik Gíslason (Iceland). Age: 30. Position: Forward. Marketing Machine: Not so much. His focus is football and, surprisingly, politics: He was a candidate in the Icelandic parliamentary election in 2016 and 2017. Heat Meter: What he lacks in Instagram followers (just under 30 thousand), he makes up for in his smoldering game. Thomas Langer / Stringer
Luka Modric (Croatia). Age: 32. Position: Midfielder. Marketing Machine: Sorta, kinda, not so much. He’s a legend player with a long career in football, but comes up short in major deals with him as the face of the deal. Heat Meter: With 10 million Instagram followers, it’s clear people definitely are into it. REUTERS: Antonio Bronic
Ki Sung-yueng (South Korea). Age: 29. Position: Midfielder. Marketing Machine: He’s pretty focused on football, but is part of the South Korean teams corporate deals with Adidas and Nexon, among others. Heat Meter: He’s huge in South Korea (and not just because he’s 6 feet, 2 inches tall). With just under a million followers, he’s got his own thing going on. REUTERS: Kim Hong-Ji
Raphaël Varane (France). Age: 25. Position: Defender. Marketing Machine: Oh yes. He’s got official deals with Nike and Braun, with more on the way. Heat Meter: 100 percent. 8.6 million Instagram followers with tons of dimpled smile selfies, his heat meter game is on point. REUTERS: Charles Platiau
Ola Toivonen (Sweden). Age: 31. Position: Forward. Marketing Machine: A simple scroll through his Instagram feed will find him showcasing his Adidas shoes on numerous posts. Yeah, his marketing machine is in full force. Heat Meter: Surprisingly though, he doesn’t have that many Instagram followers. But he’s got that Swedish blonde bombshell thing working for him.Jessica Gow TT News Agency via REUTERS

The 2018 FIFA World Cup is exciting for many reasons. Who will win? What surprises will there be? How many billions of people will watch? But there’s one aspect of the games that isn’t getting as much attention as it should: What players have the most going on in the form of marketing and heat?

The FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association, English: International Federation of Association Football) World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Billions of viewers from around the world tune in—or attend if you’re so lucky—to see some of the best athletes in the world compete in a tournament that only comes around every four years. Since 1930, the FIFA World Cup has made stars and countless memorable moments, and 2018 is shaping up to be just as memorable.

Favorites to do well at the 2018 games, to be held in Russia and to run from June 14 to July 15, are Germany, Brazil, and France, but don’t count out Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal. Bookmakers also see England, Uruguay, and Croatia as underdogs to watch. But as has happened in the past, sometimes the teams to watch go by the wayside, giving room for a surprise team to rise up the ranks and win, as happened in 1954 with then West Germany. Their win is considered one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, with the Germans—who weren’t even a professional league—came out of nowhere to take the title. So you never know what will happen at the World Cup.

Perhaps the biggest player participating in the 2018 games is Cristiano Ronaldo, playing for Portugal. At 33 years old, Ronaldo is one of the biggest athletes in the world and regarded as one of the best football players of all time. He’s won countless awards, including three World Cups. Beyond football, Ronaldo is the definition of a marketing machine, with endorsement deals in the United States and internationally. And his heat meter is off the charts, with more Instagram followers than Beyonce. You know you’re huge when you’ve got more followers than Beyonce.

So while you can comb through the players and teams to watch, what we really want to know are what players are marketing machines and whose heat meters are off the charts. We combed through a lot of players to come up with 50 of the best players whose marketing game is strong and/or has a heat meter that’s just as strong. Slide through to see which players made the cut.