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Recently Inter Milan announced it had agreed to a 10-year sponsorship deal with Nike. Hours after the announcement rumors began to swirl that Barcelona’s Ronaldinho would be leaving Spain and heading east to Italy.

While the midfielder’s place at the Nou Camp has been unsteady for most of the season and transfer speculation persists, Chelsea or AC Milan has always been at the head of the pack to sign the former World Player of the Year. Now steps in Inter Milan, who has considerable spending cash and is one of the biggest clubs in the world, possibly bidding for Ronaldinho’s services.

Quite a convenient and quick turnaround for Nike.

Why wouldn’t the company want its most popular and marketable soccer star to go to a team that wears its brand? Both Milan and Chelsea wear adidas. Soccer is a business and everything eventually comes down to money. Ronaldinho would be a marketing coup for Inter Milan, which would reap the benefits of his global reach. The branding giant also benefits by having its most popular star continually wearing Nike soccer gear in any photo or image that would ever pop up.

While it does not always work this way, rumors so soon after the deal will make this an interesting situation to watch develop.

Who really has the control over players – clubs or sponsors?


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