Neymar Jr. recently signed with sportswear brand Puma in what is believed to be an endorsement deal worth approximately 20 million euros a season. At a time when the financial climate around the world is suffering the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the deal is seen as a massive gamble on Puma's part.

On an ordinary year, making a massive investment on a wildly expensive athlete is already a calculated risk. This year is one of the most unpredictable and riskiest times to make a big move but Puma and Neymar decided to make the bold decision.

According to Marca, Puma is hoping to groom Neymar into their version of Nike's Michael Jordan. The Jordan name has become almost synonymous with Nike, and the partnership continues to be extremely profitable decades after Jordan retired from playing professional basketball.

Of course, Jordan is a basketball legend and his name will be marketable for decades to come. Puma's biggest rivals, Adidas and Nike are already grooming their own football legends. FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has a long-term deal with Adidas while Nike has a similar relationship with Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Neymar had been enjoying the support of Nike from his teenage years in the youth system in Brazil. He has since gained worldwide fame during his time with FC Barcelona and now with Paris Saint-Germain. Dropping Nike is also a big gamble for the Brazilian, seeing that stable contracts are hard to come by amid the uncertainty of the global financial crisis.

Puma is also taking a leap of faith with Neymar. While he has enjoyed massive success with Barcelona, his ride with PSG has been a rollercoaster. Despite enjoying massive domestic success, he has had a love-hate relationship with the team's fans. He has also been linked to a comeback to the Catalans but to no avail. There is no doubt about his quality as a footballer, but a lot of factors can turn him into a marketing success or a flop at the drop if a hat.

It remains to be seen if the gamble will pay off.

Neymar Jr.
Neymar was sent off for slapping Avaro Gonzalez after what he insists was racist abuse from the Marseille defender Photo: AFP / FRANCK FIFE