Nike signed Neymar back in 2005. Come September 1; the American sports giant’ll no longer sponsor him.
Nike signed Neymar as a 13-year-old back in 2005 when the Brazilian was growing up in the suburbs of Sao Paolo, honing his trade as a trickster. Neymar last extended the deal with the brand back in 2011; an 11-year contract worth $105 million which was supposed to run until 2022, but as such, the marriage between the two parties will effectively be over on September 1, 2020 after the two failed to reach a financial agreement over a potential extension.
The relationship between Nike and Neymar’s camp had strained over the past few years because of the 28-year-old’s off-pitch antics. Neymar’s brand, already tainted by tax fraud allegations over his move to Barcelona from Santos in 2013, was tarnished furthermore last year after a Brazilian woman accused him of rape. Nike had expressed their “deep concern” over the issue at the time but stuck by the player’s side over a lack of substantial evidence.
Strong rumors of the split-up started circulating after the Paris Saint-Germain star man was left out of their latest advertising campaign. PSG, who bring in $83m every year from their kit-deal with Nike, are also apprehensive of how this would play out for them in the future.
In the wake of this news, PUMA has emerged as the leading contender to land Neymar’s signature. While the German-based company has refused to officially comment on the matter, reports strongly suggest that they are working on a deal to add the Brazilian superstar to their already star-studded roster, which includes the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku, Sergio Agüero, Luis Suárez, Ada Hegerberg and many more.
Puma has been amping up their business in the past few years. It recently acquired sponsorship for the entire City Football Group in a deal worth approximately $833m, and a five-year $90m contract with Italian giants AC Milan, adding them to the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and PSV Eindhoven, with whom they have enjoyed a long-term partnership. They also recently struck up a deal with LaLiga, which sees their logo emblazoned on the official match ball.
Despite the end of the marriage between Neymar and Nike, the player will still be seen in a Nike shirt for both his club (PSG) and country (Brazilian NT) is sponsored by the American sports giant. Watch this space for more updates on the story.