Back to our second favourite subject – football and brands. With Portugal’s exit from the Euro 2008 competition everybody’s eyes turn back to the ‘will he won’t he’ saga of Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid. With no spies available in either camp we will have to content ourselves with looking at this from a brand perspective. Unlike products and companies which can evolve and change constantly building on their brand, the career of the footballer is short and their (brand) value which is so easily inflated with one good season easily wanes with old age, poor form or injury. From a purely financial perspective Ronaldo himself would be wise to cash in on his brand- take the huge wages- who knows what one dodgy tackle next season could mean? Man Utd. also would be wise to take the money and run- Ferguson has shown consistently superstars are replaceable (Beckham, Van Nistelrooy) the club brand value will be intact no matter what (as long as they keep winning and playing tours in the Far East). Real Madrid also stand to make a substantial sum- they know better than anyone that the transfer fees are small fry to the advertising revenue and potential shirt sales. So what does this mean for the football side of things – will Real win the Champions League if they buy Ronaldo? Probably not. Will they make lots of money? Certainly. What does this mean for Ronaldo’s brand value? Well, if he stays he could just maybe become one of the icons of football where his brand and reputation outlasts his career. If he goes he could be the most highly paid footballer on the planet with the highest transfer fee but maybe, just maybe, in a couple of seasons time be another one of the many over paid bench-warmers with people asking Cristiano who?