First it was George Best. Then it was David Beckham. But now, Manchester has a new brand-dream, poster boy and he’s actually in the blue half of the city.
Boasting 7.2million Instagram followers and scoring more than 120 career goals at the age of 25, Raheem Sterling is the man all of the brands want front and centre and he’s currently ranked second by SportsPro in the world’s most marketable athletes.
An England forward and Manchester City superstar, he is a role model for thousands of kids across the country and an ultimate trendsetter for the 2020s. Here are some of his best collaborations away from football.
BAPE and Clarks
The new Bathing Ape and Clarks shoes were always going to be a massive hit this summer but put Raheem Sterling in a pair and they sell out in just eight minutes. Seriously, they were all gone in 500 seconds!
The two brands joined forces to celebrate 70 years of the desert boot and the finished product combines military chic with cool comfort. Sterling’s favourite brand of boot, they are now the favourite of everybody else, soaring to new heights of popularity.
“Smart, but also different,” was Sterling’s reply when Swedish high street fashion giants H&M asked him to describe his style as he donned their spring must-have pieces this Spring.
Now in his mid-20s, Sterling has come of age on the pitch, as a back-to-back Premier League champion, as well as off it, with plenty of guys from the same generation wanting to dress just as stylishly.
Combining ‘sharp tailoring with athleisure’, Sterling is the ideal frontman for H&M and wowed at Christmas with a cute advert featuring his family. This partnership is up there alongside his combination play with Kevin De Bruyne in the City midfield.
Sterling is used to taking on Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah and Paul Pogba for Europe’s top honours but the England star also went head-to-head with the trio in the latest Pepsi advert.
The campaign was scheduled for Euro 2020 before the tournament was halted and moved back a year due to the Coronavirus pandemic but it still made waves, adding to the pantheon of Pepsi football commercials which date back to Becks, Roberto Carlos and those sumo wrestlers at the start of the millennium. It put him among the sport’s top commercial earners, according to The Telegraph, boosting his coffers further after signing a Manchester City contract extension worth up to £300,000 per week in late 2018.
Drinks, fashion and even shaving products, is there anything Raheem Sterling can’t sell?
The popular footballer has featured plenty of fresh beard trims during his distinguished career and so was the right choice for Gillette’s ‘Made Of What Matters’ campaign. However, it was more than just his face which counted for Gillette.
“He is a great soccer player but the reason we were very keen to join up with Raheem was because he is doing wonderful work beyond the world of soccer,” said chief executive Gary Coombe. “His stance on tackling racism is very congruent with our values and the sort of person we want to be associating ourselves with.”
Being the face of the razor brand, Sterling reportedly netted ‘several millions of pounds’ and followed in the footsteps of such sporting greats as Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Thierry Henry.
What next? Nike? Puma? adidas?
When Manchester City took on Southampton in early July, Sterling debuted a brandless blackout version of the Nike Phantom Venom boots, fuelling talk he could be set for a switch with his Nike deal ending that month.
Earlier this summer, reports claimed Puma, Sterling’s club’s kit suppliers, were ready to offer the flying frontman a £100m 10-year boot deal. This was similar to the offer on the table made by Nike’s subsidiary Air Jordan a year before. Puma already have strong connections with City manager Pep Guardiola signed to their portfolio alongside Sergio Aguero and recently departed club legend David Silva. Just last week, Sterling attended a party with Usain Bolt, who has been with the brand since 2003, signing with them when he was just 16.
Other reports claim adidas could snap him up, with a bumper contract worth more than £10m on offer which would be the largest deal tabled for a British player. As well, as reported this summer by The Times, any adidas partnership could fuel a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, with the manufacturer playing a part in Beckham’s move to the Bernabeu 17 years ago.
Watch this space.