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Nike lost Lionel Messi to Adidas over 'trivial' details

Nike lost Lionel Messi to Adidas over 'trivial' details

Messi has become synonymous with Adidas in the past 16 years but right at the beginning of his career the then Barcelona star was with Nike.

Lionel Messi switched from Nike to Adidas in 2006 following a very trivial request from the then Barcelona star, according to a new book.

Messi is one of the most recognisable athletes in the world, even outside of football, so much so that even Cristiano Ronaldo has been known to talk about his rival whilst looking in the mirror.

It's no surprise that brands would want the PSG forward at the centre of what they do, and would be willing to spend lots of money to get the 35-year-old on board.

Recently, the Argentina star was one of those featured on Pepsi's latest advert, for the upcoming World Cup, and it's being praised nearly as much as Nike's own showing from the 1998 World Cup.

Whilst the clothing brand known for their swoosh haven't unleashed whatever they've got for this year's tournament, they too might have had Messi in it, in an alternative universe.

The seven time Ballon d'Or winner is pretty synonymous for his partnership with Adidas but before the 2006 World Cup he'd actually been with their rivals, Nike.

Having been with the American company since he turned 14, he dropped them for the German company, despite his then club, Barcelona, being with Nike.

According to a new book, 'Messi vs. Ronaldo: One Rivalry, Two GOATs, and the Era That Remade the World’s Game, by Jonathan Clegg and Joshua Robinson, it was all down to a couple of reasons.

The book, serialised by the Wall Street Journal, claims that Nike were preparing their marketing campaign for the World Cup in Germany, even holding a photo shoot with Messi.

They then received a phone call from the player's representatives asking them to drop the pictures, and that Messi was signing with their rivals.

Messi has become the face of Adidas. Image: Alamy
Messi has become the face of Adidas. Image: Alamy

Apparently it was down to a missed request by Nike, who ignored the player's father, Jorge Messi, asking for more tracksuits for the forward.

Nike's Iberian and South American operations failed to get back to Messi snr and that was, so says the book, enough to 'sour' things between player and company.

After that their refusal to get into a bidding war with Adidas is said to have further put player and father off staying with the company that had previously sponsored them.

The case actually went to the courts in 2006, with Nike claiming they had a 'binding agreement' with the player, but they the case to Messi and Adidas.

Rather than a 'binding agreement,' the Spanish judges found they had a 'commitment letter,' and Messi switched to Adidas officially in February of that year.

Messi wore Nike for years with Barcelona and still does with PSG. Image: Alamy
Messi wore Nike for years with Barcelona and still does with PSG. Image: Alamy

Despite his own personal allegiance, Messi has worn Nike shirts with both Barcelona and PSG, with the latter having the extra tie in with Air Jordans.

He could even return to Barcelona next year, with his contract at the Parc des Princes due to expire next summer and reports he wants to go back to the Nou Camp.

Before that though, he will wear Adidas in Qatar and Argentina attempt to end a 36 year spell without winning the World Cup.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/Adidas

Topics: Nike, Adidas, Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina