Underwear showdown as Beckham takes on Armani

LONDON - David Beckham is set to launch his own range of underwear, while his current employer Emporio Armani has signed up another celebrity footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo will become the official worldwide 'spokesmodel' for Emporio Armani men's underwear and Armani Jeans, the company has confirmed in a statement to Brand Republic. He will begin starring in global ad campaigns from Spring/Summer 2010.

Beckham has appeared in a series of seductive press and billboard ads for Armani wearing skimpy briefs for the last four years, though it is understood his contract with Armani is due to run out in January.

Beckham is planning to launch his own range of briefs next year in a move that will see him join his wife Victoria in the fashion business. Mrs Beckham already produces a clothing range called dvb.

The LA Galaxy's representatives have opened advanced talks with suppliers about a deal to launch his own brand of underwear, with price points and retailers still to be finalised.

The Armani switch also marks another occasion on which Ronaldo has emulated Beckham, having replaced the former England captain at Manchester United when Beckham departed for Real Madrid.

Madrid then signed Ronaldo this summer for a world record transfer fee of £80m, which has helped fill the void left by Beckham in its global marketing profile.

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