Jack Grealish's big-money move to Puma has left fans wondering how it compares to other mega-boot deals, like those of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar.
While Grealish might have signed the biggest deal ever for a British footballer, it has not hit the heights of other world-renowned footballers, according to the Daily Mail.
One man who knows a thing or two about lucrative footwear partnerships is Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been with Nike since 2003. The Portuguese superstar signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2016, worth an estimated £15 million per year. With an astonishing 558 million followers on Instagram, Cristiano Ronaldo's influence is unparalleled, and his initials even adorn Nike's Mercurial Vapor boots.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has been with Adidas since 2006, and the German brand has backed him all the way, even winning a court case to secure his image rights. Messi now has his own sub-brand of boots, Adidas Messi, and his deal with the company is believed to be worth around £18 million per year. Despite the brand's financial troubles, Messi is still one of their most prized assets.
But it's Neymar who currently tops the list of football's biggest boot deals, having signed a £23 million-per-year contract with Puma in 2020. The Brazilian forward left Nike, who he had been with for his entire career up to that point, in search of a bigger payday. He certainly found it, doubling his earnings with the German sports company.
How do players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi decide on boots?
In the world of football endorsements, it's not just about the numbers.
Sports marketing agent Ehsen Shah revealed to Bleacher Report (via Daily Mail) that players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi look at the fine margins in boot quality too:
"In the past, it would always have been about money. Nowadays, [players] are looking at the boot quality, what the boot is bringing to their performance, because there are so many fine margins.
"They're looking at weight, they're looking at [sole] plate, how that plate is affecting their feet, their posture. They're looking at the fit. Only then are they looking at what marketing opportunities that brand can bring to them."