Ronaldinho's 'brand' worth more than Beckham's
BERLIN, March 30 (Reuters) - Brazil and Barcelona forward Ronaldinho is the most commercially valuable player in the world, followed by England internationals David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, a study of brand value said on Thursday.
Consultancy BBDO Germany estimated Ronaldinho's brand was worth £32.5million followed by Beckham's at £31.2million and Rooney's at £30.3million.
Two other Barcelona players, Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o and Argentina's young forward Lionel Messi, completed the top five, both brands being worth just over £21million.
While Real Madrid midfielder Beckham still had the best-known face in soccer, Ronaldinho's comparative youth and recent achievements with Barcelona made him a more attractive marketing prospect, the consultancy said.
Having just turned 26, the Brazilian is nearly five years younger than Beckham and was voted FIFA World Player of the Year the past two years.
'Beckham owes his second place in the ranking to his status as the 'metrosexual' prototype and the lucrative contracts this generated for him,' BBDO said. Striker Rooney, 20, plays for Manchester United.
Beckham's Brazilian team mate, Ronaldo, came seventh in the list while Chelsea's Frank Lampard placed 8th.
Arsenal striker Thierry Henry was ninth and Germany playmaker Michael Ballack 10th.
Former European Footballer of the Year Andriy Shevchenko of AC Milan was placed 20th, three places behind the youngest European player on the list, Ajax Amsterdam's Ryan Babel.