File - Barcelona's Lionel Messi (L) celebrates a goal next to Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo during La Liga's second 'Clasico' soccer match of the season at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid March 23, 2014. (REUTERS/Paul Hanna)
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U.S. sportswear group Nike is banking on its sponsorship of more of the world's best-known football stars than Adidas in its battle to overtake the German firm as the sport's top-selling brand at its World Cup this summer.Adidas, which has long dominated the market for football shoes, shirts and balls, is facing a fierce challenge from Nike, the world's biggest sportswear company that has only been a serious player in football for the last 20 years.Adidas, which is supplying nine teams including reigning champions Spain, as well as Argentina and Germany, expects to make a record 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) from football this year, still exceeding Nike's $2 billion of football turnover.Hainer acknowledged that Adidas faced a "head-to-head" race with Nike in the football shoe market, but predicted Adidas would still sell 2 million pairs of special World Cup boots and significantly more balls than at the last World Cup in 2010 .Nike believes it has already overtaken Adidas in boots, including in its rival's home market Germany.
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