If you’re a professional footballer playing in Europe’s top five leagues and you’re not wearing Nike or adidas then I’ve got some bad news.
On the basis of last season, if you want to win anything at the elite level of football then you need to be decked out in three stripes or a Nike tick.
Allow me to present to you some evidence.
Let’s first look at the winners of Europe’s top five leagues which are, for those of you who need a gentle reminder, the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A.
Nike sponsored three of the league winners- Barcelona, PSG and Man City, while adidas’ name was splashed across the chest of Bayern Munich and Juventus.
What about the top goalscorers in those leagues? It’s a similar story. Ligue 1’s Edinson Cavani, Bundesliga’s Robert Lewandowski and Serie A’s Mauro Icardi both wear Nike boots.
Mohamed Salah (Premier League), Lionel Messi (La Liga) and joint-top Serie A capocannoniere Ciro Immobile all lace up adidas boots.
In the interest of transparency, Salah broke the Premier League record for goals in a single season wearing a New Balance kit, and Immobile was wearing the lesser spotted Macron, but the feet doing the top scoring across Europe’s top five leagues were either Nike or adidas sponsored.
Now let’s move on to the Champions League. Adidas’ Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the final through goals from adidas athletes Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. Remember that, Loris Karius? Probably not, actually. Best to move on.
The Europa League? Again, adidas’ Atletico Madrid beat Marseille 3-0. Puma finally get in on the act with Antoine Griezmann and Gabi both getting on the scoresheet.
We go on.
France won the World Cup dressed in a very smart Nike kit, with Luka Modric picking up the player of the tournament award after starring in a pair of Nike boots.
Nike’s Harry Kane scooped the golden boot after finding the back of the net, mainly from the penalty spot, six times. Just in case you were wondering, both Croatia and England are sponsored by Nike.
So is this a recent phenomenon? Time to look at the recipients of the Ballon d’Or award- a Wikipedia page you can get lost on for hours. One minute you’re on Kaka’s Wikipedia page, the next you’re reading about the ideal toilet paper orientation.
Since 2007 the most prestigious individual honour in world football has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.
One, CR7, is Mr. Nike, while the t’other, Messi, is Mr. Adidas. Go back to 2007, when Kaka won his won and only Ballon d’Or award.
What was on his feet? Adidas, of course. Not literally at the award ceremony, but across the 2006/07 season.
You have to go back to 2004, when Andriy Shevchenko edged out Deco and Ronaldinho, to find the last recipient of the Ballon d’Or who didn’t wear Nike or adidas.
Andriy Shevchenko was fighting the good fight in a pair of Mizuno boots. Bonus point if you can name one player who wears Mizunos nowadays.
Will this season turn out to be another clean sweep for Nike and adidas? Not if this man has anything to do about it…
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