Adidas denies pressurising Argentina
Adidas denies they approached Argentina coach to convince him to play Messi, one of their contracted stars.india Updated: Jun 14, 2006 13:06 IST
Sports good makers Adidas denied they approached Argentina coach Jose Pekerman to convince him to play Lionel Messi, one of their contracted stars for the 2006 World Cup.
A not fully-fit Messi, who plays for Spanish champions Barcelona, sat out Argentina's 2-1 win over Ivory Coast last week and Pekerman was reluctant to bring him in for the match with Serbia and Montenegro.
"No, certainly not," said Adidas communications director Thomas van Schaik Tuesday when asked if the firm had talked to Pekerman.
In January, Messi, 18, signed a million dollar contract with Adidas, which has contracts with a string of high-profile players, including England captain David Beckham.
Van Schaik also pointed out that Javier Saviola and Hernan Crespo who scored Argentina's goals against Ivory Coast were under contract with the firm.
But it is Messi's picture that has been used in their marketing campaign.
"Argentina have one of the best coaches in the world and it is his job to pick the team," said van Schaik.
Adidas reported a 37 per cent rise in first quarter profits to 144 million euros ($183 million) in May.
The German company is one of the tournament's major sponsors and is supplying 16 teams, including Argentina.