lionel messi tata motors

Lionel Messi is widely heralded as the world’s best footballer, surely in this generation if not of all time. Fans of Cristiano Ronaldo might disagree, but if you had to pick a “nice guy” between the two, it has to be Leo.

The Argentinian record breaker pocketed US$64.7 million in total earnings last year, ranking fourth in Forbes’ 2014 highest paid athletes chart. US$23 million of Messi’s income was from endorsements, which include high profile deals with Adidas and Turkish Airlines, among others. His latest contract with Spanish giants Barcelona will ensure that he gets paid more than US$50 million a year before taxes until 2018.

But the world is not enough, and Messi has been revealed as the global brand ambassador for Tata Motors. The Football Legend, as Tata calls him, will spearhead the new #madeofgreat association campaign that is hoped to boost the brand’s passenger vehicle business. The long term partnership will see Messi promote Tata’s cars globally. There’s power in football, and carmakers know it.

Tata says that the core idea of the Made of Great campaign (inspired by the GREAT Britain campaign?) emerges from the inspiring thought of “what drives us from within is what makes us great”. The company will also soon launch a merchandise range.

“He is talent galore with conviction and is an icon for today’s youth. Watching him play football is magical. As we look to expand our footprint across the globe, Messi’s unique ability to appeal globally, transcending geographies, makes him the ideal person to represent our brand internationally,” said Mayank Pareek, president of Tata’s passenger vehicle business unit.

The four-time world’s best player sounds eager. “Namaste India. I am very excited about my first association with an Indian brand. I have always been fascinated by India and have heard such great things about this diverse country. I was once in India with the Argentinian national team and I hope to visit it again. It is important to believe in yourself and keep pushing to achieve success, and this is what the campaign stands for. I hope together we are able to inspire many more,” Messi said.

Tata’s latest products are the Zest sedan, Bolt hatch and this relatively richly equipped GenX Nano

The Indian giant, largely known as the owner of Jaguar Land Rover and the maker of the Nano, is in a defining juncture in its evolution and is gearing up to disrupt the passenger car industry with “path-breaking offerings”. The company also promises to “stir up the passenger vehicle industry with its innovations”. With Messi on board, visibility will be high, that’s for sure.

The brand’s latest products are the Zest (a sub-4m compact sedan), Bolt (five-door hatch version of the Zest) and GenX Nano. The latter, launched earlier this year, is the most sophisticated and well-equipped version of “the world’s most affordable car” yet, boasting kit such as a five-speed AMT gearbox, EPAS steering, Bluetooth, sunroof and a remote-operated hatch.

Tata has a presence in Malaysia via DRB-Hicom, but it only sells prime movers and the Xenon pick-up truck for commercial use here.