There’s no doubt that CR7 or Cristiano Ronaldo, a star for almost 20 years, is marketing gold.

Just as when Barcelona revealed a tearful Messi had to be let go, there were no shortage of suitors for the Portuguese footballer, leaving Juventus. Ronaldo was courted by Real Madrid, who he rejected, Manchester City and, at the last minute, Manchester United, who secured his return.

Now there’s no doubt that 36 is regarded as older as a footballer, but Ronaldo does seem to be an ageless phenomenon, giving the goals and assists he’s made in two seasons in Serie A. Messi is almost 35, but his marketing currency shows little sign of waning. Shirt sales are reputedly approaching one million in Paris alone, which will no doubt help pay his high salary.

But you didn’t click on Manchester Van Signs to read all about footballing news did you? We must aim to be impartial too by applauding City’s acquisition of Jack Grealish, even though they failed to sign Harry Kane.

Ronaldo and Messi may be ageing but their branding knows no time limits

When Manchester United began business as Newton Heath FC, it only adopted its current global name in 1902. Formerly known as Newton Heath YLR (Yorkshire and Lancashire Railway) it changed names and location due to a winding-up order. Old Trafford itself didn’t become the home ground until 1910.

What is clear is that Manchester United is now a global brand – in fact, in 2011, it was ranked higher than Real Madrid.

Liverpool and Manchester City are snapping at their heels though, in a top 20 dominated by the Premier League:

1) Barcelona – $4.76 billion
2) Real Madrid – $4.75 billion
3) Bayern Munich – $4.215 billion
4) Manchester United – $4.2 billion
5) Liverpool – $4.1 billion
6) Manchester City – $4 billion
7) Chelsea – $3.2 billion
8) Arsenal – $2.88 billion
9) Paris Saint-Germain – $2.5 billion
10) Tottenham – $2.3 billion
11) Juventus – $2 billion
12) Borussia Dortmund – $1.9 billion
13) Atletico Madrid – $1 billion
14) Inter Milan – $743 million
15) Everton – $658 million
16) AC Milan – $559 million
17) AS Roma – $548 million
18) West Ham – $508 million
19) Leicester – $455 million
20) Ajax – $413 million

Now you could argue that with financial might like the list above, Ronaldo wasn’t needed at either Manchester club, or indeed Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal. But he brings far more than his skills on a football field.

Like Messi at PSG, commercial revenue from shirt sales and sponsorship will undoubtedly soar.

Now we’re not saying that your business in Greater Manchester has the potential to become the next Manchester United or Manchester City. They have a long interest in a field (pun intended) that is heavily monetised.

But if you’re starting a business, or expanding one, marketing matters. Just by signing Ronaldo and having his name emblazoned on shirts and merchandise, United will reap rewards.

Not too dissimilar to branding your fleet of vans or lorries. You don’t have to the instant global cachet of Coca Cola, Messi or Ronaldo to compete, but vehicle graphics that get eyeballs on your business and sales are never unwelcome.

It’s what we do and do well at Manchester Van Signs – our vehicle graphics are always smart and never Messi! We would try to weave in a Ronaldo pun but that is eluding us – perhaps you could add something witty by commenting here or on our social media channels?