Is Zlatan Ibrahimović Sponsored by Nike?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his long-awaited comeback in Saturday's Premier League match against Newcastle United wearing Nike Mercurial football boots. However, while this usually is a clear indicator that he also has a contract with Nike, the situation with Ibrahimovic is different as he is an a an athlete with his own sportswear brand, AZ: Sportswear. Let's try to find out if he has a contract with Nike...

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Ibrahimovic had been a Nike athlete from the Euro 2004 until late 2014, when he started to wear blackout Adidas boots. However, while this was a clear indicator that his contract with Nike expired after ten years, he never switched officially to Adidas but regularly switched between different blackout boots from both Adidas and Nike.

In June 2016, Zlatan Ibrahimovic launched his own sportswear brand, AZ: Sportswear. In that time, he started to lace both in branded in Adidas and Nike soccer cleats. From October 2016 until April 2017, he only laced up in Adidas X boots, while he switched to Nike Mercurial Vapor boots on April 4 2017. He slipped into the latest colorway of the Nike Mercurial Vapor 11 boots a few days later, indicating that he has already or is close to officially signing with the Swoosh again.

Ibrahimovic's Most Likely Contract Situation - 'Boot-Only' Deal with Nike but no Nike Ambassador

We think that Zlatan Ibrahimović has a boot-only deal with Nike and also gets some money from the Swoosh, but that he is 'not an official Nike athlete'. Why?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic laced up in the latest, brand-new Nike Mercurial Vapor boots from the Fire Pack with a custom text on the boots' upper. All this is typical for players getting their boots directly from a brand and have something like a 'deal'.

However, while wearing Nike's latest boots, Ibrahimovic is not sharing any pictures of them on social and has been also not featured in any Nike advert this year. So he is not an official ambassador / Nike athlete. This is also quite logical as he has his own sportswear brand directly competing with Nike in many sportswear products except boots. So we think that he has a contract with Nike for his boots only and gets some money for wearing them, but is no official Nike athlete.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Contract Situation - Summary

  • Until Euro 2004: No Boot Contract - Wears Puma for Puma-sponsored Malmö and Adidas for Adidas-sponsored Ajax
  • Euro 2004 - Fall 2014: Official Nike Mercurial Athlete
  • Fall 2014 - October 2016: No Boot Deal - Laces up in Adidas Adizero & Nike Mercurial
  • June 2016: Launches Own Sportswear Brand - A-Z Sportswear
  • October 2016 - April 2017: Adidas Boot-Only Deal But No Official Ambassador? - Laces Up in Latest Adidas X
  • April 2017 - Today: Most Likely - Nike Boot-Only Deal But No Official Brand Ambassador - Laces up in Latest Nike Mercurial

Do you also think that Zlatan Ibrahimović has a Nike contract just for his boots but is no official Nike athlete (brand ambassador available for Nike campaigns)? Let us know in the comments below and check out his boot history from the start of his career until October 2016.