In the build up to a big tournament the major sports brands always step up their advertising, the 2014 World Cup was no different. Adidas, Nike and Puma all have their representatives playing at the World Cup but out of their stars performance, which brand is doing the best? In short which brand has got the best value for money from their players.
We have borne in mind a couple of things while producing this. Inevitably an early exit is a disaster for the brand, especially when it is the calamity which befalls several of its key ambassadors, cough, Ronaldo, Rooney.
But we are also marking players low if their form is poor or if there is negative press surrounding them.
Anyway here’s the list.
CRISTIANO RONALDO – Ronaldo turned up to the World Cup as the FIFA Ballon d’or holder and after a better season than great rival Lionel Messi. However, Ronaldo was nursing a knee injury and despite playing through this could not prevent Portugal’s elimination at the group stages. He provided a fantastic assist against USA and scored against Ghana but overall a very disappointing World Cup for CR7. SCORE: 5/10
NEYMAR – What can be said about this young man that hasn’t already? He has scored a phenomenal 35 goals in 53 games for Brazil and following his impressive Confederations Cup 2013 showing, hasn’t disappointed this summer. He’s got 4 goals and has led his side with the hopes of a nation on his shoulders. Big pressure for the 22 year old Barcelona man. SCORE: 9/10
WAYNE ROONEY – England flopped and it’s pretty easy to scapegoat certain players. Unfortunately for Rooney it’s another disappointing World Cup as his country came bottom of their group with a single point against “whipping boys” Costa Rica. Rooney finally scored his first ever World Cup goal at the third time of asking but this was not enough to beat Uruguay. Overshadowed by some of the younger players in the squad too. SCORE: 4/10
ANDRES INIESTA – Who could’ve predicted Spain would fall as sensationally as they did? Beaten 5-1 in their opening game by Netherlands and then 2-0 to Chile, Iniesta was one of the only players who could hold his head high. Showed his talents to be far and above his teammates but still could not prevent embarrassment for the defending champions. SCORE: 5/10
MARIO GOTZE – The Germans came into this World Cup as one of the firm favourites and they are yet to disappoint. Dismantling Portugal 4-0, drawing with Ghana 2-2 and beating USA 1-0. Gotze of Bayern Munich is a key cog in that ever efficient German wheel scoring against Ghana and being ever consistent. Will have to step it up though in the game left as his place is always available to be taken by the vast depth of the squad. SCORE: 7/10
NIKE SCORE: 30/50
LIONEL MESSI – Messi had a ‘poor’ season with Barcelona by his incredibly high standards, one ravaged by injury. With public opinion dictating that he needs a good World Cup to be considered an all-time great he has not disappointed. He has scored 4 goals in 3 games and led his country to victory with a couple of crackers as they picked up 9 points on route to the Last 16. Any Argentina success this World Cup will be totally reliant on Leo. SCORE: 9/10
JAMES RODRIGUEZ – The standout performer of the 2014 World Cup, Adidas will be delighted James Rodriguez is under their sponsorship. He has turned heads with 5 goals in 4 games including probably the goal of the tournament against Uruguay. On top of this he has 4 assists, sheer delight for anyone with him in their fantasy team! SCORE: 10/10
STEVEN GERRARD – What a shame for the England captain, a season that was so close to a deserved Premier League title ending in disappointment followed by the embarrassment of another England collapse. Gerrard and his teammates would rather forget about this summer and even as captain he could not lift his nation’s game. SCORE: 4/10
ARJEN ROBBEN – Some label him as selfish, probably correctly. Some label him as one footed, probably correctly. However Arjen Robben has been a revelation playing up front for Louis Van Gaal’s Holland. With 3 goals and 1 assist in 4 appearances he has helped Holland make it to the last 8, particularly starring in spectacular fashion in the demolition of Spain 5-1. His admittance of diving though is letting him down, if I was scoring him for that it would be 9.6, 9, 9.5, 9.3 but instead its: SCORE: 8/10
MESUT OZIL – Ozil’s move to Arsenal last summer was considered a massive coup for the Premier League, he had a decent season but would need to step it up heading to the World Cup. The leading domestic assist maker of previous years it wouldn’t prove the same story this summer as he is yet to score or create for Germany. Playing in all 3 games he has not set the world alight so for me needs to improve as the knockout rounds begin. SCORE: 6/10
ADIDAS SCORE: 37/50
MARIO BALOTELLI – Super Mario was not super enough to prevent Italy’s exit from the World Cup group stages. The Milan striker led the line for his country scoring in the opening match to help sink England but was barren in the following two games, perhaps with the players behind him to blame. A shame considering an impressive showing at the 2013 Confederations Cup. SCORE: 5/10
CESC FABREGAS – Cesc will return to the Premier League next season with Chelsea and I for one am very excited about having him back. For the Spaniard though he will be more well rested than he would’ve hoped. Left out of the Chile game he would only come on in the 78th minute against Holland and the 68th against Australia. He lacked an impact too which unfortunately means one of Puma’s front men won’t score very highly at all. SCORE: 3/10
ASMIR BEGOVIC – Many people believed Bosnia & Herzegovina would do alright at this year’s World Cup, certainly having a chance to finish second with a group of Argentina, Iran and Nigeria. If they were to do well it would be thanks to a strong showing from Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic. Unfortunately the Bosnians would only beat Iran and Begovic would not keep a clean sheet (a nightmare for my fantasy team!!). SCORE: 4/10
DIEGO GODIN – Diego Godin was one of the key men for Atletico Madrid as they won La Liga and finished runners up in the 2014 Champions League. The central defender has a habit of scoring goals when they matter and he did so against Italy in their group decider, setting up a Last 16 tie with Colombia. Uruguay would fall but Godin can be satisfied with his showing. SCORE: 7/10
ORIBE PERALTA – The Mexican striker has been something for the Central Americans to shout about, with a goal and an assist in the group stages. Peralta played his part this World Cup as one of Mexico’s better players as his nation were heartbreakingly eliminated 2-1 after late drama from Holland in the Last 16. Peralta, 30, may not have a big move on the cards after this tournament but he will be one of those players you look back on and go, “oh yeah, remember that guy in 2014? He was good him!” SCORE: 7/10
PUMA SCORE: 26/50
RESULTS – ADIDAS will be the most pleased of the major sports brand this World Cup. They score 37/50 and have Messi and James Rodriguez to thank for that! Nike would have been relying on Ronaldo and Rooney to turn up but unfortunately for them they didn’t. Puma are lagging some way behind, they lost Reus to a pre-tournament injury and Cesc and Mario were nowhere near as spectacular as they can be. Puma would win it if we were doing best pundits sponsored by a brand though; their affiliation with Thierry Henry continues and he stormed the BBC with his insight, a solid 10/10 from me for the Frenchman!
(Follow me on Twitter: @GJ_Thomas)