Brazilian soccer player Neymar and Nike have called an early end to their long-running partnership.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward, who was first sponsored by the sportswear giant when he was just 13 years old, signed an 11-year contract with the company in 2011 worth a reported US$105 million and running until 2022.
However, a Nike spokesperson confirmed to the AFP news agency that the two parties have gone their separate ways with more than a year left to run on the deal.
‘I can confirm Neymar is no longer a Nike athlete,’ said Josh Benedek, a spokesman for the firm, in an email to the AFP.
Reasons for the split have not been made public, but a report by Brazilian news outlet Universo Online (UOL) says that Neymar and Nike failed to agree on the financial terms of a renewal.
Various media reports are now linking Neymar with German sportswear company Puma, which also sponsors the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku and Sergio Aguero.
Neymar, 28, is the fourth highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes, which estimates that the player earns a cool US$25 million from his endorsement deals with the likes of Red Bull, Beats Electronics and Mastercard. The former Barcelona and Santos man also counts DAZN, Electronic Arts, Gillette and TCL among his commercial partners.
Despite Neymar’s departure, Nike still boasts partnerships with some of the biggest names in world soccer, including the Brazilian star’s PSG teammate Kylian Mbappé, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raheem Sterling.