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FN Pick: Lionel Messi in Publicity Mode for the World Cup

Athletic labels are hoping the World Cup stars burn bright.

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While 32 nations vie for World Cup domination in Brazil, athletic giants are also slugging it out for brand visibility. Nike and Adidas each forked over big bucks to sponsor teams, as well as some of their respective athletes. In fact, two of the world’s best players — Adi-sponsored Lionel Messi of Argentina (at right) and Nike-sponsored Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal — were in serious publicity mode last week with TV appearances, on-field interviews and intense paparazzi scrutiny.

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