Vinicius Jr once again came to the rescue on Thursday for Real Madrid, extending the slender 1-0 lead and thus securing three points against Valencia. It was a great way to mark his 200th La Liga appearance, in which he also subtly expressed his frustration with his current sponsor Nike.
Vinicius played the first half wearing a black boot that had no signs of the Nike logo. In the second half though, he changed his gear, and this time he played in a yellow boot with a visible Nike Swoosh. Nike hasn’t yet come forward with a statement on this act of defiance.
The partnership between Nike and Vinicius stretches back a decade and runs up further till 2028, thanks to a ten-year contract extension both parties signed in 2018. but Vinicius now wants to snap up prematurely.
The Brazillian wonderkid, whose marketability has grown by leap and bound in the last few years, feels he is undervalued by Nike. Vinicius is one of the most popular young players, as reflected by over 35 million followers across social media platforms. He knows the new deal will be significantly more lucrative than the current one, but Nike is not willing to terminate his contract.
Earlier during the World Cup, Vinicius registered his protest by wearing an old boot in Brazil’s match, violating Nike’s clause that required its athlete to wear the marquee series, Mercurial XV. Vinicius can’t even participate in Real Madrid’s advertisement since the team is sponsored by Nike’s rival Adidas. The club had a similar problem with Cristiano Ronaldo. It is assumed that Vinicius is being offered a significantly greater sum by Puma.
Vinicius now has 50 goals and 37 assists in 200 matches for Real Madrid. As far as La Liga is concerned, Vinicius’s timely goal helped Real Madrid to stay in the hunt for the title race. They are placed second in the points table, five points behind the leader and their arch-rivals Barcelona.