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Neymar joins Puma after 15 years with Nike

Neymar wears new Puma boots during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Marseille at Parc des Princes on September 13, 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Anthony Dibon/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Sports brand Puma has signed a long-term endorsement deal with Brazilian football star Neymar and NR Sports, the company which holds the player’s image rights.

The agreement will see Neymar wear Puma’s ‘King’ model of football boot (see picture) and act as a brand ambassador off the pitch, wearing Puma’s lifestyle, training, and sport-inspired footwear and apparel products.

Neymar recently parted company with long-term endorsement partner Nike, ending a 15-year relationship between the player and brand. Neymar, however, will maintain links with Nike which is kit supplier to the Brazil national team and his club, Paris St Germain.

According to the US sports network ESPN, only four executives at Puma knew about the Neymar deal and that it was “a big secret in the company”.

Bjørn Gulden, chief executive of Puma, said. “He is one of the best players in the world and extremely influential for the global football and youth culture. We are very excited and look forward to working with him both on and off the pitch.”

In a message to fans on his social media channels, Neymar referenced previous Puma-endorsed world stars such as Pelé, Cruyff, Matthäus, Eusébio and  Maradona. “I wish to bring back the legacy that those athletes created on the pitch. They each played in Puma, and each of them created their magic in ‘The King’,” he said.

Neymar will now join Puma’s endorsement roster that includes Formula 1’s Lewis Hamilton and retired sprint star Usain Bolt. In football, Puma also has personal agreements with Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku, Barcelona’s Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez and Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak.

In 2019, Puma signed the largest team deal in football the company’s history when it signed as kit supplier to City Football Group, the parent company of English Premier League club Manchester City.