Lionel Messi is currently Adidas' biggest marketing star. Lionel Messi signed his first football boot deal with Adidas in 2006: the contract was for five years and was worth £400,000 per year. Nike had nearly signed a deal with Messi, and threatened legal action when he changed his mind and choose Adidas. Lionel Messi was 19 years old when he signed the Adidas contract in 2006, and was only beginning to show the potential of becoming a world class footballer.
In 2006, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham were the 'faces' of Adidas' sports marketing: both players endorsed the Adidas Predator football boot. Present day, 2015, Lionel Messi is now acclaimed as the world's top football player, and has taken the mantle of Zindane and Beckham by becoming the 'face' of Adidas sports marketing.
The first Adidas football boot that Lionel Messi wore was the Adidas F30; Adidas had wanted Messi to wear a pair of Adidas F50's, but Messi did not like the sole of that boot. Adidas modified the F50 for Messi, and from 2006-2009, Messi wore a range of Adidas F50 boots: Adidas F50.7, Adidas F50.8, Adidas F50.9 and Adidas F50i. Since 2009, Adidas have released a range of football boots specifically for Messi: such as a gold/white/black F50 for his 2011 Ballon d'Or. In 2013, Adidas launched the Adidas Messi signature boot range; the only other player to have his own Adidas signature boot range was David Beckham. Just as with David Beckham, Adidas have designed a Messi logo (shown above) for his signature boot range. The timeline for Adidas F50 Adizero Messi boots:
The timeline (above) will be out of date after 2015: due to Adidas continuing to release numerous Messi signature boots each year. The release of the Adidas Messi 15.1 (2015) saw a whole new boot design: the boot features a 'cage' design that is similar to the FX Flux sneakers and is a far cry from the streamline design of the F50. With Lionel Messi continuing to break scoring records in the La Liga and Champions League, Adidas' decision to invest heavily into a teenage Messi has proved a lucrative gamble. In 2014, it was widely reported that Messi earns £13.6m per year from his sponsorship deal with Adidas.