Virat Kohli's has made himself into one of the biggest brand endorser courtesy his stellar performances with the willow for Team India. The Indian captain has now gone past Argentine football legend Lionel Messi in the list of most valuable brands among athletes, according to Forbes.
Kohli has bagged the seventh spot in Forbes' list ahead some sporting stalwarts of Messi, golf superstar Rory McIlroy and basketball star Stephen Curry, but he still has some catching up to do to come somewhere close to top-ranked Roger Federer.
Kohli's value this year stands at $14.5 million while Messi is ranked ninth with $13.5 million. Tennis legend Federer tops the list with a brand value of $37.2 million followed by NBA star LeBron James ($33.4m) and sprint king Usain Bolt ($27m).
Top 10 most valuable athletes:
1. Roger Federer $37.2m
2. LeBron James $33.4m
3. Usain Bolt $27m
4. Cristiano Ronaldo $21.5m
5. Phil Mickelson $19.6m
6. Tiger Woods $16.6m
7. Virat Kohli $14.5m
8. Rory McIlroy $13.6m
9. Lionel Messi $13.5m
10. Stephen Curry $13.4m
Kohli's phenomenal success in the last two years has helped his brand value surge especially after he took over the captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in all formats earlier this year.
The 28-year-old's brand value was expected to rise up by 20-25 per cent this year. He is quickly catching up to Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, who has been valued at $131 million.
Kohli's form with the bat has had a direct effect on India's performance as a team in the longest format. He recently surpassed Ricky Ponting on the list of batsmen with most ODI hundreds after he smashed his 31st ton in the format in the first ODI against New Zealand in Mumbai.
The 3-0 Test series whitewash in Sri Lanka made Kohli the only Indian captain to register two series wins in the island nation. The same tour saw Kohli lead the Indian team to a 9-0 tourwash.