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Emporio Armani Signs Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo succeeds David Beckham, who has modeled for the ads for the last four seasons, beginning in February 2008.

MILAN — Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans have found a new body.

The Giorgio Armani-owned brands have signed soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo as the new model for their advertising campaigns, beginning with the spring-summer season.

This story first appeared in the October 12, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Ronaldo, the 24-year-old forward for Real Madrid and captain of Portugal’s national soccer team, is one of the sport’s hottest properties at the moment. In June, he signed a contract with Real Madrid after a successful stint at Manchester United, in a deal that totaled nearly $130 million. He was named UEFA Champions League player of the year, FIFPro World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d’Or for 2008.

The campaigns have yet to be photographed and no further details were available on the deal at press time.

Ronaldo succeeds David Beckham, who has been modeling in the Emporio Armani ads for four seasons, beginning in February 2008 in the U.S. Last year, Emporio Armani Underwear saw its men’s sales rise to over $30 million, sources said. Beckham’s wife Victoria modeled for the women’s ads; that deal expires at the end of this year as well.

Meanwhile, David Beckham and his representatives are said to be in meetings with several companies about developing a Beckham-branded men’s underwear line, according to industry sources. The names of the companies could not be learned. The line would be launched for fall 2010.

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