Rich List: Cashed-up Spanish sportsmen

Alex Dunham
Alex Dunham - [email protected]
Rich List: Cashed-up Spanish sportsmen
Does Fernando Alonso take poll position in the advertising stakes? Photo: PresidenBertho/Flickr

Forbes magazine has just put together its annual rankings of the world's highest-paid athletes in advertising terms. Which Spanish sports star do you think is the 'King Midas' of endorsements?


Tiger Woods (€42 million), Roger Federer (€26 million) and Phil Mickleson (€25 million) top the Forbes exclusive advertising rankings, with athletes from American league basketball, baseball and American football filling up of the Top 100 places.

But Spain’s sporting elite are also divvying up the endorsement spoils and four sports are represented by the country’s four richest athletes. 

Here's the countdown of Spain's top-earning advertising magnets. 

4. Pau Gasol

Gasol is one of the most decorated European imports to the NBA and considered by many here as the best Spanish basketball player of all time. 

The Catalan basketball player has “chosen his sponsors wisely”, according to Santiago de Mollinedo, director of advertising agency Personality Media.

“There are few sportsmen in Spain who are as highly regarded as Gasol and Nadal. They’re immediately associated with hard work, overcoming obstacles and winning.”

The Lakers forward has endorsement deals with Nike, Banco Popular and San Miguel, adding an extra €1.9 million a year to his earnings.

3. Fernando Torres

Although most would agree that Torres’s form has been erratic since signing for Chelsea, he did win the Champions League with them last year and Euro 2012 with Spain. 

Off the pitch he counts Nike among his sponsors and can be seen starring alongside Leo Messi in several  Pepsi commercials.

“He’s associated with modernity, trendsetting and attractiveness, especially outside Spain”, says De Mollinedo. 

The Spanish striker currently has €15 million in total earnings, €2.3 million of which are from endorsements.

2. Fernando Alonso

Asturian Fernando Alonso remains the highest-paid driver in F1, earning close to €23 million annually from his salary with Ferrari.

The Spaniard also makes €2.3 million from endorsements with Viceroy, Europcar, Oakley and more recently the banking giants Santander.

“He’s evolved from being a world champion who had some problems with the press to a professional and real leader who with the help of sponsors like Banco Santander has really brushed up his image”, De Mollinedo explains.

1. Rafa Nadal

The Majorcan tennis ace has expanded his endorsement portfolio in recent years and counts Nike, Babolat, Kia Motors, Richard Mille and Bacardi among his sponsors.

De Mollinedo calls him “The King Midas of advertising in Spain".

“If a successful athlete that stands out from the rest hasn’t had their reputation tarnished in any way, he or she can be a great face for most brands.”

Rafa was ranked among the top two in the ATP's year-end standings for seven straight years before the serious knee injury he recently sustained.

His whopping €19 million in annual endorsement money makes him the best-paid Spanish sportsman (7th in the world according to Forbes).



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