Legendary Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo’s sports marketing firm, 9ine, has reportedly secured the image rights to Brazil’s latest and most exciting soccer prodigy, Neymar.
In a statement released by the company, 9ine announced that it had reached an agreement with Neymar’s agent Wayne Ribeiro to take control of the starlet’s commercial rights deals. Whilst the specifics of the agreement have not been released, 9ine’s role will focus on securing sponsorships, advertising and developing the global brand of 19-year old Neymar.
Ribeiro will maintain control of contract and soccer-related negotiations for the starlet, who currently plays for Brazilian soccer team Santos. However, a host of European clubs are apparently chasing Neymar’s signature this summer, led by English soccer team Chelsea FC.
Neymar, who signed a long-term endorsement deal with Nike in March 2011, has joined Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight fighter Anderson ‘the Spider’ Silva and futsal star Falcão on the company’s books.
"9ine came to supplement my work as an agent,” stated Ribeiro. “They are great partners in the marketing area.”
Ronaldo added: “We are partners and will not act in the same area as agents. Our goal is to leverage the success of the player’s career.”
Neymar has rocketed to global fame since making his breakthrough at Santos in 2009 and scored on his international debut against the United States in August last year, becoming one of soccer's most marketable athletes.