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Nike Parts Ways With Neymar After 15 Years of Collaboration

Nike has drawn a line under its highest-profile sponsorship deal with Neymar, a decade and a half after signing it with the then budding 13-year-old striker.

"I can confirm Neymar is no longer a Nike athlete", a spokesman for the US sportswear giant, Josh Benedek, said in an email to AFP on Saturday, providing no details.

Brazilian news site UOL reported Neymar and Nike had failed to reach a compromise on how much money it would cost the sportswear giant to renew the contract with him, adding that negotiations between the company and the footballer's agents had hit a roadblock months ago. Neymar’s communications team hasn’t yet commented on the reports.

The footballer is now reportedly in talks with Nike's German rival, Puma.

Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo said Neymar's last deal with Nike was an 11-year contract worth a total $105 million that was due to expire no sooner than in 2022.

The 28-year-old Brazilian ace holds the record for the most expensive football transfer in history, as Paris Saint-Germain paid a staggering 222 million euros to bring him from Barcelona in 2017.

Although Forbes magazine ranks him as the world's seventh highest-paid celebrity, with his earnings for this year estimated to stand at $95.5 million, Neymar’s brand, or rather reputation, was recently blemished by tax fraud allegations over his transfer to Barca, as well as accusations of rape by a Brazilian woman, despite his vigorous denials.

Nike expressed its "deep concern" at the time, but stood by the player. Police shortly closed the case, citing a lack of evidence.

Neymar will still wear Nike apparel on the pitch, as the American titan sponsors both PSG and the Brazilian national team, as well as many big names in the sports world, including Michael Jordan, Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams, LeBron James, etc.

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