Children’s sports are mapped by entrepreneurs and sponsorship deals are made at an earlier age.

Diego Lionel Still very small. He is 9 years old, but the recently signed contracts have already promised to change his promising career. The boy has a base formation bond with Palmeiras and another sponsorship bond with Adidas, a German sports equipment giant. His parents were baptized under this iconic name in honor of two of the best players in Argentine history: Diego Armando Maradona and Lionel Messi.

The young athlete caught the club’s attention after being one of the main highlights of the Dani Cup sub-12, a traditional tournament played in Bahia. He competed with three-year-olds and became the runners-up in the championship, scoring 12 goals in seven games. Diego Lionel describes himself as a “skilled right-winger”. By law, every boy can sign a professional contract in football after the age of 16, including striker Andr ,s Palmeiras, whose contract expires in July.

Diego Lionel, 9, has already signed a training contract with Palmeiras

Photo: Reproduction / Instagram / Estadão

“I came here to learn a lot from this Palmeiras base that reveals great players for world football and I want to be one of them” (and I want to be one), “said the boy when he signed a training contract with Alvivarde.

Diego Lionel is already represented by entrepreneurs. His career is governed by the Three Sports Group (TSG), whose partner is Bruno Martins, a former footballer who ended his career as an athlete early in his 30s to enter the football business. Kaike Cordeiro, coordinator of the ARJ Soccer School in Salvador, introduced Bruno to the boy.

“I really liked what I saw. He was a boy who really attracted my attention. He has a lot of expectations and a lot of potential. We know the road is long, but we believe he has the potential to be one of the best talents in Brazil.” Football in the future “, said the agent Estadao.

It is Bruno’s company that represents Cowan Basil, the under-9 futsal player. Saint Who became the youngest Brazilian athlete to sign a sponsorship deal with Nike. The boy was 7 years old then. Before that, from William Nascimento FlamengoAnd Enzo Peterson, from Sao Paulo, Both just 11 years old, have already signed a deal with Nike. All these guys promise Brazilian football.

Bruno declined to be named, but revealed that Diego Lionel had received offers from several Brazilian clubs. The S শান্তo Paulo club’s “quiet because of the project and structure” was Palmeiras’ choice. “We know the work that Palmeiras does and the projection it gives to the youth of the base,” he justified.

Celebrity kids

Diego Lionel, his representative, said he had no idea what was going on in his life at the age of nine. For now, he just wants to play ball. The boy’s family is present and gives the boy the help he needs to avoid future problems and potential trauma. “Now we have to respect the process. Work and let him be a child. At the right moment, he will know how to handle the demands and responsibilities very well”, commented the trader.

Children of sports, increasingly young, have frequently closed sponsorship agreements with large companies. Before, episodes were not so common. It is possible to remember Neymar, who signed with Nike at the age of 13, and Rodrigo, who also graduated from Villa Belmiro. Today at Real Madrid, at the age of 8, the striker closed with the same company.

“This process is very much in line with the risk relationship that they (companies) run if the athlete does not become an outstanding player. Not done because most of these deals are related to products, that is, in addition to getting kits for athletes to perform, he gets a quota to buy products in official stores, but there is no financial value involved, “said Bernardo Pontes, partner at Aloeb Sports, an influential marketing company. Which focuses on sports

“Besides, Brazil is a country where these young people attract attention from a very young age,” he added. Increasingly, European clubs are trying to buy Brazilian players. “There is a line that generally distinguishes between sportswear and other brands. Sportswear is more obvious, because athletes have to wear it, wear it and invest very little. Most of the time without any money, because there are players like Neymars or something like that, but “It simply came to our notice then.

“These brands have a race for these talents, and the cost is very low. In addition, there are issues of trust and identification with the family when signing a contract of this size,” the executive corrected.

Other players have achieved the same path. Striker Estevao Willian, 15, was hired by Palmeiras from Cruzeiro and in 2018, while wearing a sky shirt, he had already signed a sports contract with Nike. He is called “Messinho” and burns down at the Palmeiras base next to Andrick.

There are incidents of some young stars, which are considered to be incidents, which go beyond the sports content. Because of their talents and backgrounds, they eventually get other, even more significant partnerships. That was the case with skateboarding “fairy” Resa Lil and Palmeiras base gem Andrick, who signed his first professional contract in July. Both are sponsored by OdontoCompany, the largest network of dental clinics in the world.

“But incidents outside of the sport are rare,” said Armenio Neto. The executive says he closed a deal for Gabigol, in Santos at the time, with Gatorade, when the striker was just 15 years old. “She was already at the base and needed a potential boy in front of the brand. Santos was having a great time too, so we proposed to Gabriel,” he said.

This must be a growing constant trend in world football, as the demand for clubs for young players is increasing, and the rise of these boys follows this movement.


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