Puma Signs Italian Soccer Player Mario Balotelli Ahead Of '14 World Cup
Mario Balotelli, who plays for both Serie A club AC Milan and the Italian national team, has signed a sponsorship deal with Puma, part of the company's "efforts to strengthen a footwear business that has lost out to rivals Nike and Adidas in recent years," according to REUTERS. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Puma has wanted to sign "big-name players" ahead of the '14 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Balotelli joins Puma's roster of soccer endorsers that includes Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Marco Reus (Germany) and Radamel Falcao (Colombia) (REUTERS, 12/23). GOAL.com's Chris Davie notes Balotelli's deal "got off to a noticeable start" on Sunday after he "wore his own headline-inspired boots" during AC Milan's match against Inter Milan. The design of the shoe "incorporates the biggest headlines surrounding the Italy international, including 'why always me?' which was made famous" after Balotelli scored in EPL club Manchester City's 6-1 win over Manchester United in October '11 (GOAL.com, 12/23).