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June 14, 2006

World Cup Soccer Branding: Ronaldo vs. Ronaldinho vs. Ronaldo

World CupSometimes, branding a soccer player’s name is easy. Take David Beckham, for instance. That’s an easy name to remember and say, and he's a .

A name that is just as popular, but harder to Google, is Ronaldinho. Two of the world’s most famous soccer players share this name that most of America will find difficult to spell.

To make things more difficult to remember, both were born in Brazil and play on its national team but are owned by Spanish clubs and, ironically, both at one point changed their real names from Ronaldo to Ronaldinho to from other soccer players.

Even stranger, the Ronadinho name is the diminutive form of Ronaldo - yet both men are pretty big: Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima is 6-feet tall, while Ronaldo de Assis Moreira is just under 6-feet tall.

RonaldinhoSo let's set the record straight. When you read about Ronaldinho, you are most likely reading about .

RonaldoWhen you read about Ronaldo, you are most likely reading about . Both men have understood that is easier for fans - and sponsors. As far as their grandiose last names go, well, as ESPN , last names don't cut it in the soccer world (think Pele).

Both men are , which is a blow to arch rival Adidas. Nike is capitalizing on that in a big way, making Ronaldinho the centerpiece of its Joga Bonito (Play Beautiful) campaign. Ronaldo is also sponsored by Nike, even though the company's footwear has , surely good news to Adidas.

Adidas may not have these stars in its stable, but its is to promote the teams that they outfit rather than individual stars--Nike has only outfitted teams since 1998.

But the fact that these two great names wear the swoosh is proof that Nike is dead set on taking over Adidas's sacred territory, the soccer field... blisters and all.

Follow Ronaldo and Team Brazil at the . Also, read an interesting post about the Soccer dream team at the To the People blog. And to keep up-to-date on World Cup news, visit .

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Posted by William Lozito at June 14, 2006 10:44 AM
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