Bayern Munich star Mario Gotze should not allow himself to be used as a tool in a marketing war between rival clothing companies, according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
The 21-year-old recently caused a stir after being photographed sporting shoes and socks made by Nike, who are direct rivals to the Bavarians' and Germany's shirt sponsors, Adidas.
It is the second time the youngster has breached partnership agreements between his team and its sponsors, after wearing a Nike t-shirt to his unveiling at the Allianz Arena.
Rummenigge is unsure if the incidents were publicity stunts but is nonetheless advising the former Borussia Dortmund ace to avoid being used as a puppet by his sponsor
"Maybe, I do not know [if it was intentional]," the 58-year-old told Bild. "But maybe there is also an intention by the company to annoy another competitor. I imagine that could be the case.
"But he should not let them abuse him. That would be my advice to him."
Gotze signed a sponsorship deal with Nike in 2012, but is only permitted to wear their footwear while representing the attire of his club or national team.