Raheem Sterling is poised to become a global megastar like David Beckham after firing England to Tuesday’s Euros clash with Germany.
Marketing experts say the forward has all the ingredients he needs to build ‘Brand Sterling’ – including son Thiago, who has embarked on a modelling career at the tender age of four.
PR guru Mark Borkowski called Sterling, 26, a “sponsor’s dream”, and told how he could replicate Beckham’s success.
The former England captain and his wife Victoria are now worth £380million. Mr Borkowski said: “This could be Raheem’s moment. He could make millions.”
Sterling is the only England player to so far score in the Euros, striking against Croatia and the Czech Republic in the group stage.
His goals secured first place – and the crunch match with one of our oldest rivals.
The clash has brought back agonising memories of the Euro 96 penalty shootout in which Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate missed the decisive spot-kick.
And pub bosses predict eight million pints will be downed on the day of the match – either in joy or sorrow – despite a 5pm kick-off.
The Germans are weak by their own standards, boosting hopes of a historic Sterling-inspired victory that would only further enhance his appeal to big-name brands.
Mr Borkowski said: “If this is to be the championship that puts to bed the ghost of so many failures and he’s the man popping in the goals, he’s in a totally different world. Money no object. Sponsor’s dream.”
Sterling, who won his third Premier League title with Manchester City last season, earns a reported £300,000 a week – £15.6million a year.
He is the face of shaving brand Gillette and recently got a boot deal with New Balance.
Last month the Sunday Times Rich list estimated his net worth at £38million.
Aside from his commercial success, Sterling is also one of the loudest voices in the fight against racism in football.
And Mr Borkowski also praised the player’s efforts on social media – which have earned him 10.5 million followers on Instagram and Twitter – and his skill at handling negative publicity.
He said: “He’s very authentic, and this narrative around the boy from Brent all adds to the story of the boy made good.
“You could certainly look at Beckham as a baseline, what he was earning at his height, and replicate that sort of money. But you can’t do it alone. This is lawyers, managers, agents, publicists, sponsorship.”
When Becks retired in 2013, aged 38, he was reportedly raking in £33million a year through his salary, sponsorships and business ventures.
The former England captain became a global sensation for both his footballing abilities and his marriage to Posh Spice.
Now he and wife Victoria get help building their brand from their social media-savvy children – including photographer Brooklyn, 22, and 18-year-old model Romeo.
Similarly, Sterling’s four-year-old son Thiago is already adding to the family’s fortunes with a recent shoot for Italian luxury house Fendi.
He also appeared alongside his dad in the latest Gillette advert. Mr Borkowski said: “Make no mistake, it’s all part of the team. It’s all about creating a family legacy and embedding that. Look at the Kardashians.”
Sterling has a second son, Thai-Cruz, with fiancée Paige Milian, 25, and a daughter, Melody Rose, from a previous relationship. And Danny Rogers, a PR expert and author, said he can match the Becks off the pitch.