FC Barcelona midfielder Rafinha Alcântara do Nascimento must honor the terms of his Adidas sponsorship deal or pay a fine of up to 1 million euros ($1.14 million), a Dutch court decided Tuesday.
The 25-year-old switched from Adidas footwear to blacked-out Mizuno cleats in July, which the German footwear company said was in violation of its unilateral extension.
In response, Rafinha argued that Adidas had hidden the extension option in his contract — which stipulated that Adidas could extend by five years without consulting the player — and said the brand had not adequately supported him through serious injuries in 2015 and 2017.
But the district court in Amsterdam, where the contract was first signed, did not accept the merits of Rafinha’s argument.
“Although he is no legal expert, he knows how sponsor deals work,” the judge said.
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The judge ruled that the winger would need to pay 10,000 euros for each day he declined to wear Adidas, with the maximum amount being 1 million euros.
While the case represents a loss for the athlete, it could have been worse: Adidas was initially seeking 100,000 euros for every day Rafinha failed to wear its wares after July 1.
The Brazilian soccer star is out of action for the remainder of the season, having suffered an injury during a Nov. 24 match against Atletico Madrid. Nonetheless, Adidas still wants to put him to work. The Three Stripes hopes to have him promote its goods on social media and off-field.
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