Neymar Signs Deal With Puma After Parting Ways With Nike

Following weeks of speculation, Neymar Jr. has finalized an endorsement deal with Puma.

The sportswear giant confirmed the long-term partnership, which was also signed with NR Sports, which holds the image rights of the athlete. As part of the agreement, the Brazilian soccer star will not only wear Puma cleats on the pitch, but also serve as a brand ambassador off the field.

Both Puma and Neymar announced the news on social media, along with the banner, “The king is back.” On Twitter, Puma wrote, “Welcome to the fam.”

CEO Bjørn Gulden also commented on the deal. “Neymar Jr. joining our Puma family is fantastic,” he 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 addition, Neymar — whose full name is Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior — took to the social networking platform to issue a statement. He reminisced about his childhood, watching videos of football legends including Pelé, Johan Cruyff and Diego Maradona — all of whom were sponsored by the German brand.

“I wish to bring back the legacy that those athletes created on the pitch,” wrote the Paris Saint-Germain forward. “I want to help bring back memories from each of their football histories and the magic they gave us in their classic leather boots — and through boots like those, leave behind my own legacy. They each played in Puma, and each of them created their magic in The King.” (The shoe debuted in the late 1960s and was worn by the aforementioned athletes.)

He added, “Every time I lace my boots — my King boots — I will do anything to achieve all of my dreams to honor my name and that of all those great ones who wore the King before me. This will be my Puma history. The King is back!”

The announcement comes two weeks after Neymar and Nike ended their high-profile 15-year partnership. In a late August email to FN, the Beaverton, Ore.-based company confirmed that Neymar was no longer an athlete ambassador of the brand. The pro footballer had also helped deliver the first-ever soccer range for the athletic behemoth’s Jordan Brand label in October 2016, which made Neymar the first player to don Jumpman branding on the pitch.

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