Nike could be key to Real Madrid's hopes of pulling off a sensational swoop for Neymar: the manufacturer is thought to be ready to fund part of a potential transfer from Paris Saint-Germain - in exchange for becoming Los Blancos' kit supplier.
With Real currently under contract until 2020 with Adidas, who pay the LaLiga club just 40m euros a year, this could see the sportswear giants add another battle front to their already fierce tussle to partner the world's best players.
Which brands kit out the Ballon d'Or top 25?
Below is a breakdown of the brands that sponsor the top 25 footballers in the 2017 Ballon d'Or standings:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo: The Real Madrid star is Nike's prize asset, although Adidas are his club's supplier. The Portugal captain also has his own 'CR7' line of clothing as part of his deal with the Americans, which earns him around 24m euros a season.
2. Lionel Messi: The Barcelona ace's situation is the exact reverse of Cristiano's: he wears Adidas, while his club are decked out by Nike. The Argentine has been with the Germans for 12 years, and in February 2017 signed a renewed, apparently lifetime contract with the firm.
3. Neymar: Like Cristiano, the Brazilian's Nike deal features a personalised line of apparel ('Neymar Jr'). He is tied to the company until 2022, an agreement that is in line to be extended in 2024. His club side, PSG, are also kitted out by Nike.
4. Gianluigi Buffon: Now 40, the Italian legend has been with Puma - who supply both his boots and his gloves - since first signing with the German brand 18 years ago.
5. Luka Modric: He has sported the Nike 'swoosh' since his days at first club Dinamo Zagreb, and is the chief face of the brand's partnership with his national team, Croatia, which is due to run until 2026.
6. Sergio Ramos: Before finally renewing for 2m euros a year, Ramos' contract with actually Nike ran out last season, leading the defender to use blacked-out boots for a spell. Real Madrid, where he is club captain, play in Adidas kit.
7. Kylian Mbappé: Nike and Adidas fought it out for the striker's signature at the height of Real Madrid's interest in the then-Monaco star. The 19-year-old finally penned renewed terms with Nike and joined PSG; meanwhile, it is felt that a move to Adidas would have been accompanied by a transfer to Madrid.
8. N'Golo Kanté: The former Leicester City midfielder, now at Chelsea, wears Adidas, who were also the Premier League champions' kit supplier when he joined. However, the Blues switched to Nike last summer, agreeing a 15-year, 1bn-euro deal.
9. Robert Lewandowski: Adidas have a stake in Lewandowski's club, Bayern Munich, but the striker is sponsored by Nike, and is the central figure in the US firm's contract with his national side, Poland, which has been in place since 2008.
10. Harry Kane: Like his club, Tottenham Hotspur (who receive around 35m euros a year from the deal), Kane is partnered with Nike. In February, the marksman was rewarded for scoring his 100th Premier League goal with a specially-designed boot: the Hypervenom HK.
11. Edinson Cavani: One of the icons of Nike's contract with Paris Saint-Germain, the Uruguayan has this term worn dual-sponsored Hypervenom 3 boots that also bear the logo of the video game FIFA18.
12. Isco: Nike have been the 26-year-old Real Madrid man's supplier since his time at Málaga. His agreement with the Oregon-based company expires this year, and the Spain international is in talks to extend his terms.
13. Luis Suárez: The Uruguayan is part of Adidas' portfolio, despite employers Barcelona wearing Nike. After his infamous bite on Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, the brand punished the striker by docking 80,000 euros from his earnings.
14. Kevin de Bruyne: The Manchester City star has the same sponsor - Nike - as his club, and has committed to the Americans until 2022.
15. Paulo Dybala: Having spent 11 months wearing blacked-out boots, the Juventus player recently signed a lucrative deal with Adidas, who also make his club's kit (as part of a six-year contract that sees the Vecchia Signora pocket 139.5m euros).
16. Marcelo: The Real Madrid left-back began his career with Nike, but in 2013 crossed over to his club's brand, Adidas.
17. Toni Kroos: Like Real Madrid, the German has enjoyed a long-term partnership with Adidas, having sported the three stripes since his early playing days. Curiously, Kroos has used the same model of boot - the AdiPure11Pro 2 - since 2014.
18. Antoine Griezmann: Alongside Buffon, the Frenchman is one of Puma's headline players, despite Nike being responsible for decking out current club Atlético Madrid. This year has seen him debut a new boot: the Future 18.1.
19. Eden Hazard: The chief face of Nike's partnership with Chelsea. Adidas sought to tempt him away from their rivals in 2014, but the Belgium international remained faithful to the company that has provided his boots since he was 16.
20. David de Gea: Since leaving Puma in 2015, the goalkeeper has been one of the key assets in Adidas's partnership with both of his teams, Manchester United and Spain.
21. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: The Gabon striker earns a reported 2m euros a year from his sponsorship deal with Nike (Arsenal, who he joined in January, have played in Puma kit since 2014). Aubameyang is key to Nike's presence in Africa.
22. Leonardo Bonucci: The AC Milan defender wears Nike, having renewed with the firm until 2020 five years ago. Meanwhile, the Rossoneri are presently with Adidas and are due to wear Puma from next season.
23. Sadio Mané: The Liverpool forward uses Nike boots, although he has been spotted training in footwear made by New Balance, who provide his club's kit.
24. Radamel Falcao: Having enjoyed a five-year association with Puma - for whom he starring alongside Sergio Agüero in a number of television adverts - the Colombian moved over to Nike, the suppliers of current club Monaco, in April last year.
25. Karim Benzema: With Adidas since he took his first steps as a player with Lyon, his contract with the company makes the Real Madrid striker one of France's top-five highest earners from endorsements.