Neymar has handed control of his career and image rights to the
country's richest man, Eike Batista, in a deal announced on
Neymar's signing with Batista's IMX Talent hands the group
control of the player's image both during his playing
days and after he retires.
"We are proud to support idols like Neymar Jr," Batista said
in a joint statement with Neymar. "With IMX Talent we will
develop the careers of some of Brazil's biggest sporting icons
and discover more talents."
Neymar added: "I am very happy to have a Brazilian company
with bases the world over alongside me to help me in my career."
Neither party disclosed the terms of the deal but sources
told Reuters it will not affect Neymar's current commitments to
sponsors such as Nike, Red Bull and Panasonic.
Neymar, 20, joins other big names in the IMX Talent stable,
including Olympic long jump gold medallist Maurren Maggi and
Torben Grael, the sailor who has won more Olympic medals than
any other Brazilian.
The fleet-footed striker has been the outstanding player in
Brazil over the last two years, starring for a Santos side that
won the Copa do Brasil in 2010, the South American club
tournament, the Libertadores Cup, in 2011 and consecutive
championships with Brazil's Paulista State in 2010, 2011 and
He was voted Brazil's player of the year last season and
also won FIFA's Puskas Award for the best goal of 2011.
Rated at 55 million euros by Pluri, a sports
marketing firm, Neymar has rebuffed overtures from Barcelona and
Real Madrid in Spain's La Liga, and English Premier League club
Chelsea which recently won the UEFA Champions League.
Last year, he extended his contract with Santos to tie
himself to the club until after the 2014 World Cup, which will
be held in Brazil.
Under the deal, he earns a reported $1.5 million a month,
the majority of which is paid by sponsors and advertisers
including Banco Santander Brasil, the Brazilian unit
of Spanish banking behemoth Banco Santander.
Batista, meanwhile, is one of Brazil's best-known
businessmen, a sharp-talking entrepreneur with interests in oil,
mining, logistics and other fields and whose net worth was
estimated at close to $30 billion earlier this year by Forbes magazine.
A keen sportsman himself, Batista last year joined with IMG
Worldwide to form Brasil1 Sports & Entertainment, a marketing
agency that has a hand in organizing a number of high-profile
events in Brazil.
He has also spent his own money to help his adopted home
city of Rio de Janeiro prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games. In
addition to funding parts of the Rio bid, he has invested in
reforming hotels, infrastructure and even venues for the big
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