The most influential people in world football

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo continues to improve, year on year, re-inventing himself via sheer strength of character. The 32 year old Portuguese attacker achieved his 47th career hat-trick in the semi-finals of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid. This season has seen him score an amazing 44 goals in just 45 games.

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Ed Woodward

As director and executive vice-chairman of Manchester United, Woodard is responsible for much of the everyday dealings of the club. Previously an investment banker, the 45 year old succeeded David Gill, and since his appointment has cut some lucrative new deals with both players and sponsorship.

Florentino Perez

While in the majority of football clubs, the coach takes charge, they do things slightly differently at Real Madrid. As president of the club since 2000, he has completely turned it around, controversially redefining the boundaries of all big clubs and how they should behave. Over this time, Real Madrid has positively hoovered up the trophies.

Jose Mourinho

Progress has definitely been achieved since he arrived at Manchester United at the beginning of the season. Perhaps not back to sweeping glory, as many had hoped, but a steady, gradual improvement, nonetheless. His reputation as a ‘three year’ man leaves some doubt as to whether he will stay on at the club, but there is little question that he will do well if he does.

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Lionel Messi

With his nickname in the industry ‘The Icon’, Lionel Messi is considered by many to be the greatest player ever. He has also been deemed to be football’s most bankable asset. He doesn’t hold any formal power, yet his brand neutrality and inarguable excellence serves to set the tone of the game itself. His influence in all senses, aspirational, sporting and marketing, stretches indefinitely. Certainly, there is many an amateur footballer with aspirations to follow in his shoes, checking out football team kits at

Gianni Infantino

Starting his career at UEFA, Infantino became the FIFA president following the downfall of Sepp Blatter. January 2017 saw him leading a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee to make big changes to the World Cup from 2026, when the format will expand from 32 teams to a huge 48. There is little doubt that his influence has, and will continue to have, a huge effect on the football world.