Manchester United players Robin van Persie and Ryan Giggs advertise Japanese tomato juice in 2013.

11 of the most surprising football endorsements: Tomato juice, smile improvers, dog training…

Footballers have long been used to flog any old tat, but some endorsements are more surprising than others – as former Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid players can attest. 

The mix of massive celebrity and the compulsive need to maximise earnings during their relatively short careers means that we’ve been treated to some bizarre advertising cameos down the years.

We’ve identified 11 of the most surprising endorsements given by footballers in the glorious history of marketing…

Harry Kane – Skechers

The England captain? Wearing Skechers? It feels both unfathomable and entirely predictable.

Manchester United – Japanese tomato juice

Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs, Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa slurping down thick glasses of a Japanese tomato juice known as Kagome. What more could you ask for in life?

Lionel Messi – Japanese face cream

Dropped in 2014, Messi appears with a face covered in face cream and reveals himself to be a person that’s never used the product in his entire existence.

He then drops his head before a splash of water appears and, hey presto, his face looks like it has been kissed by the Gods themselves. If this doesn’t make you immediately want to go out and buy this product, then you are clearly impervious to advertising.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Japanese smile improver

In this ad, Ronaldo briefly messes with the Pao Facial Fitness device, but the Japanese firm clearly didn’t pay him enough to put the goofy contraption in his mouth.

The logic-defying clip shows users popping the device in their mouths before rhythmically bobbing their heads up and down in a bid to tone their faces. Bizarre.

Michael Owen – Visit Dubai

Scientists have worked for years to cure insomnia, only to be gazumped by Michael Owen ‘showcasing’ Dubai from a helicopter.

Fernando Torres – Banco Gallego dog training

A left-field discovery, this ad features a young, well-groomed Torres endorsing what appears to be a Spanish dog training school called Banco Gallego. Go figure.

The ad opens with an adorable fawn pug looking confused, before shooting to another slightly more smug black pug. Plenty more dogs follow, each of whom seems happy if a little bemused by the presence of the former Liverpool striker.

Kevin Keegan – Sugar Puffs

This couldn’t be more 90s – Keegan sending on the Honey Monster to win the cup for Newcastle soundtracked by Jonathan Pearce at his Robot Wars peak. Inject it into our veins.

Peter Schmeichel – Danish bacon

How Peter Schmeichel ever faced his Manchester United team-mates again after this is anyone’s guess. It’s one of history’s great regrets that Roy Keane’s internal monologue wasn’t available when he first saw this.

Blackburn Rovers – Venkys chicken

Don’t mind us, we’re just watching David Dunn tackle a drumstick for the rest of the day…

Gareth Southgate – Bull Boys Shoes

Everyone remembers Southgate’s Pizza Hut cameo, fewer will remember the current England manager bigging up the kind of shoes your fashion-illiterate parent would ‘treat’ you with.

Morten Gamst Pedersen and John Arne Riise – Norweigan fruit

Beginning with former Portsmouth and Birmingham man Erik Huseklepp minding his own business at a pick n’ mix stand, things soon take a turn for the worse when odd couple Riise and Pedersen turn up.

Some autotuned singing, bizarre words and moves that leave you cowering behind the sofa later and we’re contacting our nearest therapist.

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