Soccer fans are often spoiled, on and off the field. When it comes to advertising, soccer commercials have often times been true masterpieces. The incredible amount of money put into soccer help the creative juices of advertising agencies materialize their vision.
However, it’s not all about the money– we will see in this list of the Top Soccer Commercials Of All Time, that the level of production is not always what makes a commercial great (at least in my humble opinion). I believe the best soccer commercials are the ones that best trigger human emotions of the beautiful game through intelligent and creative storytelling. On this front, Nike has been one (if not the most) of the most creative soccer related advertisers. Eight out of the ten spots that made my list of top 10 Soccer Commercials are from Nike, but interestingly not the best one. I have also included in this list one true hidden gem whose creativity truly blew my mind. The ads dates range from 1996 to 2015. So, sit back, relax and prepare to be nostalgic and to be brought back in time (and maybe in tears) through two decades of iconic soccer commercials.
10 – NIKE | WINNER STAYS (2014)
“Winner Stays” is the second part of the Nike ‘Risk Everything’ Soccer campaign for 2014. The ad opens on a park with two teams challenging each other in a pick-up game where the winner stays on.
Stars: Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimović, Gonzalo Higuaín, Eden Hazard, Andrea Pirlo, Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta, Mario Götze, Thiago Silva, Thibaut Courtois, Tim Howard, David Luiz
9 – NIKE | THE AIRPORT (1998)
Bored at the airport? Delayed flight? No problem when you are the seleçao! This beautiful ad shows the Brazilian team kicking the ball around at the airport and having fun dribbling and doing all sorts of tricks. The commercial aired for the 1998 World Cup and shows a very young Ronaldo and the legendary Romario.
Stars: Ronaldo, Romario, Lucio, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Denilson, Leonardo and more.
8 – NIKE | MATCH IN HELL TRAFFORD (1996)
This commercial showcases a team of iconic players representing “the good” playing against a team of evil creatures on a the nightmare field of “Hell Trafford”. The legendary strike from Cantona saying Au Revoir makes the game.
Stars: Eric Cantona, Patrick Kluivert, Paolo Maldini, Rui Costa, Luis Figo, Ronaldo
7 – HEINEKEN | CHAMPION THE MATCH: WORK VS. SOCCER (2015)
Would you drop everything to fly to a Champions League Match in Barcelona? What if you had to convince your boss to go with you? See if these soccer fans can come away with a victory. This is what Heineken wants to know and asks fans who walk into a deli 🍺. When you are a soccer fan in the U.S. you understand all too well the struggle of not being able to watch Champions League games on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because you are stuck in the office. This commercial is a perfect example of the power of creative storytelling: you do not need necessary need millions of dollars and world star players to create soccer commercials that connect with your audience. Triple thumbs up to Remezcla for coming up with this great concept 👍👍👍
6 – NIKE | PORTUGAL VS. BRAZIL (2004)
¡Oléééééééééééé! The ultimate humiliation word of soccer, especially in the art of nutmegging. The commercial shows players of the Portuguese and the Brazilian national selection, humiliating each other with tricks before the game even started. I particularly love the tackle of the referee on Ronaldinho and the look on the faces of Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo at the end of the commercial. Priceless 😂
Stars: Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos, Diego, Denilson, Luis Felipe Scolari, Eric Cantona, Ricardo Quaresma, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldinho and more.
5 – NIKE | THE MISSION (2000)
This gorgeous commercial features a gang of players led by team leader Louis Van Gaal, trying to infiltrate an overprotected building to steal a soccer ball. What a great Mission: Impossible feel! The commercial aired during the 2000 World Cup. Project Blabb is doing a great job deconstructing the ad here.
Stars: Luis Figo, Pep Guardiola, Edgar Davids, Lilian Thuram, Hidetoshi Nakata, Oliver Bierhoff, Louis Van Gaal and more.
4 – NIKE | THE SECRET TOURNAMENT (2002)
“The Secret Tournament“, also known as “Scorpion KO” is a star-studded Nike commercial that was released for the 2002 World Cup. This $100 million commercial featuring Eric Cantona as a referee showcase a fictional tournament involving eight teams of three of football’s top players in a first-goal-win elimination.
Stars: Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Edgar Davids, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Roberto Carlos, Patrick Vieira, Hidetoshi Nakata, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and more.
3 – NIKE | TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL (2008)
The “take it to the next level” commercial is an absolute masterpiece 🙏. As perfectly stated by Nike it “charts the progression of a young football player from his beginnings in youth football through to competing at the highest level for his country”. The camera in from the player’s point of view all throughout the commercial. Given the teams featured (Arsenal FC, and The Netherlands national squad) and the players featured many have speculated that the story is based on the career of Robin Van Persie. What’s your opinion?
Stars: Arsène Wenger, William Gallas, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Marco Materazzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rafael Marquez, Ronaldinho, Bojan, Andres Iniesta, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Wesley Sneijder
2 – NIKE | JOGA BONITO – CRISTIANO VS ZLATAN (2006)
“Joga Bonito” is a serie of commercials narrated by Manchester United icon Eric Cantona. The main focus and objective is to promote the beauty of soccer and the pleasure of playing. The “Joga Bonito” series (Portuguese for play beautiful) highlights multiple Brazilian players including a great montage of young Ronaldinho and older Ronaldinho playing. You can watch the entire series here. The ad that caught my attention is the one featuring a “prepuberty” Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimović, already badasses. Each are battling through amazing soccer skills and also show their inner cockiness. The editing work is amazing and the music incredibly well-chosen. Enjoy.
Stars: Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimović
1 – ADIDAS | JOSÉ +10 (2006)
What can I say about this one, other than this is my favorite commercial ever. All categories. Period. I have goosebumps every single time I am watch it. This ad has everything a soccer fan could dream of. A relatable story (anybody who has played soccer, especially on the streets has picked team players the way José and Pedro are doing it), legendary players (come on… Michel Platini and Franz Beckenbauer are on the field 💯), skills and tricks, humor. I am just going to stop there for a minute. Benching Kaká, putting Defoe as a goalie, taking the captain role away from Djibril Cissé… 😭😭😭 Last but not least the ad reflects perfectly the tagline of Adidas at the moment: Impossible is Nothing. And because an extraordinary commercial deserves an extraordinary treatment, here is the starting eleven of the two teams.
Michael Ballack Germany, (FC Bayern Munich)
Franz Beckenbauer Germany
David Beckham England, (Real Madrid CF)
Du-Ri Cha Korea Republic, (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Damian Duff Ireland, (Chelsea FC)
Steven Gerrard England, (Liverpool FC)
Kaká Brazil, (AC Milan)
Oliver Kahn Germany, (FC Bayern Munich)
Juan Román Riquelme Argentina, (Villarreal CF)
Bastian Schweinsteiger Germany, (FC Bayern Munich)
Patrick Vieira France, (Juventus Turin)
Djibril Cissé France, (Liverpool FC)
Jermain Defoe England, (Tottenham Hotspur)
Kevin Kuranyi Germany, (FC Schalke)
Frank Lampard England, (Chelsea FC)
Michel Platini France
Shunsuke Nakamura Japan, (Celtic Glasgow)
Alessandro Nesta Italy, (AC Milan)
Lukas Podolski Germany, (FC Köln)
Raúl Spain, (Real Madrid CF)
Arjen Robben The Netherlands, (Chelsea FC)
David Trézéguet France, (Juventus)
Zinédine Zidane France, (Real Madrid CF)
Source Header; GIPHY
Do you agree with our list? Which commercial is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!