Vinicius Jr, a bust-up with Nike and the race to sign football’s next big thing

Nike’s latest World Cup production preview is huge. Euverse, they call it. A scientific research team set out in a Swiss laboratory to decide once and for all who can be considered the greatest of all time.

All of Nike’s big hitters – past and present – are there in an exquisite film that spans four minutes. The original Ronaldo and Ronaldinho are brought back from the parade to compete with today’s greats Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo, before Virgil van Dijk, Kevin de Bruyne, Alex Morgan, Leah Williamson, Carli Lloyd and Sam Kerr all teleported into the tumultuous kickabout. .

His absence is conspicuous, even though he is one of the biggest NBA athletes in the world.

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Vinicius Jr, Brazil’s swashbuckling striker and rising force is nowhere to be seen in the CHAPEL experiment. Not even a cameo, as Phil Foden is given in a remote case.

Vinicius also made an unusual omission from Brazil’s kit ahead of the World Cup. Rodrygo, Richarlison and Allison were all pictured in promotional films in August, but not Vinicius, the forward who won the Champions League final against Real Madrid in May.

The relationship between Vinicius and Nike is no longer happy, though. He is away. As first reported by the Brazilian outlet UOL this week, the 22-year-old began a trial before the World Cup to end a lot of sponsorship with a certain sportswear that should have run until 2028.

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Vinicius is said to not be returning, having refused to discuss his bitter relationship with Nike since Wednesday’s mid-day appearance in Brazil’s World Cup quarter-final against Croatia. The manager believes that he is not given the due prominence in Nike’s commercial activities and sees a bigger future with another brand.

Adidas and Leopards are both reported to have an interest in adding Vinicius to their firm’s elite footballers, if an agreement can be reached in the coming months. He would have both in a heartbeat.

It’s an awkward category for Nike, Brazil’s oldest national outfitter. One of the world’s rising football stars wants to disband an association that dates back to when he was 13 years old in the youth ranks of Flaminia.

The fact that Vinicius now wants an outdated variety of Nike boots, as opposed to the Mercurial XV, only reinforces the bad feeling that Brazil are cooking up the tournament favorites to win.


Vinicius Jr (second from left) holds his own against superstar Neymar (far right, photo: Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

“You don’t want to lose the Nike Vineyard,” says Ehsen Shah, founder and CEO of sports marketing agency B-Verse. “One because he is in the Brazil team and two because you want to have the biggest names for the Adidas team, like Real Madrid.

“If you go back a few years, it was Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Gareth Bale and Luca Modric. There were five, so to speak, of elite level players.

Vinicius will be part of that close group with Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, those guys. We see Phil Foden getting recognition, Judas Bellingham too. A young group of players is coming through which will be big names for the next generation.

This World Cup effectively represents a change in the military trade. Messi and Ronaldo are competing with each other since their last international tournament, while Neymar has also indicated that it will not be around until 2016.

In Mbappe, already the winner of the World Cup in 2018, Nike has a natural successor to fill Ronaldo’s void but the loss of Vinicius stung. He was thought to be an average athlete of at least six years.


Nike have a valuable asset in Kylian Mbappe – but are they going to lose another in Vinicius Jr? (Photo: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Neighbor Vinicius’ motivations for leaving Nike were not financial. The reasons for calling in lawyers are rather the frustrations of not seeing the profile grown.

“You have Bresalam at the World Cup finals, where you are one of the favourites, and they didn’t use Vinicius,” added Shah. “They went to the older Brazilian players (Ronaldo and Ronaldinho) more than the current ones. That seems to be a kick in the teeth. I’m looking at the World Cup, where Nike typically use Brazil, but Vinicius is not used.

“With Brazil and Brazilian players in particular, the focus is always around the World Cup. If they play in the World Cup then it immediately blows. That country follows its national team so religiously through the World Cup that if you finish in that state, you’ll be well on its back.

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Nike did not respond to requests for comment, but they have clearly opted to put others at the top of their marketing strategy for this World Cup.

Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Van Dijk and De Bruyne are all World Cup veterans and therefore more recognizable to a global audience. Brazilians Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Edgar Davids, meanwhile, bring a spore of desire to the latest hyped-up. DS Eric Cantona has previously been used for the same purposes.

“It’s very difficult to get to the top of the tree in terms of who is learning about global campaigns,” says Tim Crow, a sports marketing expert. “You need a global challenge if you are going to be featured as a global asset. There are great activities that generate coverage and prominence in that business.”

Vinicius is not yet considered to be at that level of global appeal but the legal process he has initiated suggests that Nike, which has often had strong ties with Brazilian footballers in the last few decades, believes that he is undervalued by a long-term association with the national team. team


Nike has a long-standing relationship with the Brazilian national team (Photo: Raphael Dias/Getty Images)

Chat with the most famous face in this Brazil World Cup squad. Neymar was let go by the US firm last year after he “refused to cooperate in an investigation into credible allegations of wrongdoing by an employee.” Those allegations, which date back to 2016, have always been denied by Neymar, who said he “betrayed” him.

Neymar is now a Leopard athlete, one of seven in Brazil’s current squad. Adidas, meanwhile, has nine accounts, including Raphinha, Gabriel Jesus, and Gabriel Martinelli. Vinicius is one of the 10 Brazilian players supported, but not, if the legal action is successful, for much longer.

This is important because common logic always points to Vinicius as the world’s greatest football event. The boy wonder signed by Real Madrid as a 16-year-old for 38 million in 2017, by the age of 21 he had already won two La Liga titles and a Champions League medal, and he flourished again this season.

This is the first World Cup in Brazil, but Vinicius is already a useful star of Tite’s team. He excelled in the last 16 of South Korea and his nation’s hopes will once again turn to Croatia on Friday.

Vinicius is already considered a star in South America, carrying a multitude of commercial partnerships. EA Games and Pepsi are among the 10 brands that have used that young man in the tech industry.

“As a brand you ask ‘Who is the most attractive player to join us?’ and if you can’t do better, who is next?” said the Shah. “If you can’t get Neymar in this team, the next strength is Vinicius. This would make sense as to why a lot of commercial companies get involved.

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They see value in the player, who has already built an Instagram following of nearly 27 million. Another 16 million can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Those numbers are small, Fry Mbappe, who boasts 75 million followers on Instagram, not to mention fellow athlete Ronaldo, who is unique on the entire platform with 10 million.

But Air tied down Vinicius until 2028 for a reason; among them was the most likely to inherit the golden thrones that Messi and Ronaldo had for so long.

Perhaps the biggest fish out there from the athletic giants is Haaland, who even has Adidas, Nike and Felis boots as a Manchester City player this season, but Vinicius is definitely one to look out for. Especially if he is part of the Brazil squad that won the trophy last weekend in 2002.

“Mbappe and Haaland are going to play there with the big ones,” Cornix said. “These stars are tremendous, but from this World Cup we can see that an incredible generation has emerged in every country, whether it’s Bellingham with England, or the amazing young Brazilian team emerging.

“If Vinicius seeks more attention than his works speak for themselves.”

(Top photo: Manuel Reino Berengui/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)



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