Rio de Janeiro – Nike said Saturday it had 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.
“I can confirm Neymar is no longer a Nike athlete,” a spokesman for the U.S. sportswear giant, Josh Benedek, said in an email to AFP, without giving further details.
Media reports said the 28-year-old Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil talisman was in talks with Nike’s German rival Puma.
Brazilian news site UOL said Neymar and Nike had failed to reach a deal on how much money he would be paid for renewing his contract.
It said negotiations between the company and the player’s agents had run into trouble months ago.
Neymar’s communications team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Puma likewise did not immediately respond to questions about reports the company was in talks to sign him.
Neymar, who is fresh off the heartbreak of narrowly losing the Champions League final to Bayern Munich, currently holds the record for the most expensive football transfer in history.
PSG paid €222 million to bring him from Barcelona in 2017.
Forbes magazine, which ranks him the world’s seventh highest-paid celebrity, estimates his earnings for this year, including sponsorship deals, at $95.5 million.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.