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Nike part ways with Neymar after 15 years

Nike have announced that it has parted ways with Neymar, ending one of its most high-profile sponsorship deals a decade and a half after signing the star striker as a 13-year-old prodigy.

Cut short two years prior to the deal originally terminating, Josh Benedek, a spokesman for the American sportswear brand said in an email last Saturday to AFP News, “I can confirm that Neymar is no longer a Nike athlete."

Neymar and Nike began working together when the Brazilian star was 13 years old. Six years later, while playing for Santos, Neymar signed a 11-year deal with the sportswear giant. Set to earn Neymar US$105 million (€88.1 million), according to Brazilian website UOL.

That agreement has been ended as reports claim that the Paris Saint-Germain striker is in talks with the German sports brand, Puma.

The ‘Neymar Jr.’ brand connected well with Nike products and their branding. Although, last year, Neymar’s personal brand was damaged following accusations of raping a Brazilian woman. During the investigation Nike was “very concerned” but continued to support the striker after the investigation was dropped because of a lack of evidence.

Throughout Neymar’s career Nike have been the kit supplier for the clubs he’s played for, including the Brazilian national team. However, it’s believed the relationship between Nike and Neymar’s current club, Paris Saint-Germain, will not be affected.

Some may consider Neymar to be PSG’s talisman, though Nike can be perceived to not be too concerned as they sponsor Neymars’ strike partner, Kylian Mbappé. Seven years younger and World Cup winner, Mbappé is perceived to have more commercial potential than Neymar which would benefit PSG and Nike. So, would make sense for Nike to continue to be PSG’s kit supplier.

Ranked by Forbes, Neymar is the fourth highest paid athlete as he’s estimated to earn $95 million per year. $70 million is paid by PSG through his playing contract, while the remaining $25 million is sourced from his sponsors such as, Beats Electronics, Red Bull, EA, MasterCard, and Gillette.

For the 2020/21 season, Nike will have clubs such as Barcelona, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Tottenham Hotspur amongst their portfolio. As well as stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil Van Dijk, and Sergio Ramos.

Author: James Parker