Along with his incredible goal-haul, Cristiano Ronaldo was a marketing machine all by himself. He was the undisputed pichichi for Real Madrid shirt sales last season, followed by Spaniards Marco Asensio and Isco, according to sales data released by the club, and now that he is gone, and with superstars the likes of Neymar or Mbappé not taking over his mantle, the question is, who will?
Modric, not Benzema, proving popular
On his first day as a Juventus player, the Portuguese star was said to have set a new record in shirt sales with over 54-million-euros worth of products bearing his name snapped up. Now, without him at Madrid, it is Luka Modric who will take over.
Leading his Croatian team to the World Cup final, and winning the Golden Ball to boot, has, as well as being an integral cog in the three years of Champions League dominance, have given him an almost idolic status with some. His is the most requested shirt these days, according to the staff at the Bernabéu store, although actual numbers have not been made available. It's six o'clock in the early evening when we visit the shop and inside there are several customers taking refuge from the summer sun. The huge window is lined with photos of Benzema. Inside, more of the same. There is a feeling that the Frenchman is the figure chosen by the club to fill the void left by Cristiano, although without success. The workers tell us that shirts bearing the striker's name are one of the least in demand and not clearly visible in those on offer with, for example, Isco and Asensio shirts much more evident.
Bale could be the leading man
One shop assistant explained to us that those shirts most visible on the hangers are reflected by those most asked for by supporters. One player that is certainly on their list of demand is Gareth Bale, thanks in large part to the British fans, although interestingly the presence of his shirts is minimal. He has been called the 'galáctico in waiting' and following his starring role in the Champions League final, and potentially a manager now in place to give him the minutes he craves, Bale has the opportunity to take his commercial value sky high.
For his part, goalkeeper Keylor Navas continues to get the love from the Latin American public. In our time in the store we see a few faithful fans trying on his shirt, and a quick conversation with them makes their stance on the current situation clear: "We do not want Courtois or any other goalkeeper," they passionately share.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be missed
The truth is, while new stars will arrive, and current ones will step up, Cristiano is going to be missed. Although the Madrid legend said upon his departure that he didn't believe any Madridista would be crying we spoke to one young lad who disagrees. David, an 11-year-old faithful follower of his idol, was looking around the new season's kits with his mother. On his back were the black and white colours of Juventus surrounding the famous number '7'.
"I have all his shirts and this year was not going to be any different," he tells us.
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