American multinational corporation, Nike on Saturday has confirmed that it has parted ways with the Brazilian football star Neymar, ending one of its most renowned sponsorship deals a decade and a half after signing the star striker when he was 13-year-old.
“I can confirm Neymar is no longer a Nike athlete,” said a spokesman for the Nike sportswear, Josh Benedek.
According to our sources, Neymar was 19 years old when he signed his first deal with Nike as a youth at Brazilian side Santos. Neymar’s last deal with Nike was an 11-year contract that was only set to end in 2022, worth a total sum of $105mn (€88.1m).
Media reports suggest that the 28-year-old PSG and Brazilian top footballer was in talks with Nike’s German rival Puma; after Nike and Neymar had failed to reach a deal for renewing his contract.
However, Neymar will continue to wear Nike apparel on the pitch, since the brand sponsors both his present club Paris Saint-Germain and his national team Brazil.
Neymar’s personal brand, already wrecked by tax fraud allegations over his murky transfer to Barcelona, was further badly dented last year when a Brazilian woman accused him of raping her.
Nike expressed its deep concern at that time, but stood by the player after police closed the case, due to lack of evidence.