Neymar is one of football's genuine superstars when it comes to commercial value. The Brazilian is in an elite group of marketable marvels along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi. He's Nike's future frontman, and with the Swoosh investing so heavily it's become apparent that the brand had a say in which clubs he should and shouldn't play for.

Brazilian media outlet UOL Esportes reckon they've managed to get hold of the 10-year endorsement deal that Neymar signed with Nike just before he joined Barcelona from Santos back in 2011, and it reveals some interesting facts. Deep into the small-print of the paperwork reveals that Neymar was only entitled to his full sponsorship money if he plays for a 'Category A' team, with his income decreasing if he was to drop down a tier.


Modern day athlete contracts are complex deals, the brands are throwing huge figures at their asset, and in turn want concrete return value. Did this influence his move to Barcelona? No, not really. At the time Neymar was always going to sign for what Nike considered a 'Category A' club, but it was a compensation clause for the Swoosh if Neymar wasn't a hit at the Camp Nou, and ended up moving on to another club.

Basically it avoided the very small chance that Neymar got shipped out on loan, or sold to a lesser club, and Nike were stuck paying Neymar more than he was earning them.


Nine clubs were listed by Nike as 'Category A' at the time (2011) and they were made up of; AC Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid. If Neymar didn't sign for any of those clubs he would have looked at a 'Category B' club, which Nike defined as “every other team from a first division league that has qualified for the Champions League three times in the past five years”. If he signed for a 'Category B' club he would have earned a smaller percentage of his full endorsement.

Of course, the list is likely to be updated each year with PSG and Man City both now guaranteed to be in the 'Category A' list, especially considering their marketing potential with Nike's backing.


The report by UOL Esportes also claims that Neymar will receive $1million should he win the Ballon d'Or, as well as more bonuses should he win the World Cup, finish as top goalscorer, or named as Player of the Tournament. Better rest that foot kid, there's money in Moscow.

So, when there's a scrap over who should be taking a penalty it must be of slight frustration for a manager that two of his players could potentially be thinking about a financial bonus from a sports brand as they wrestle the ball from one another...