When news of the big Sweden vs Portugal World Cup playoff match-up was announced, I’m sure the folks at Nike had some pretty mixed emotions. On one hand, they got the hottest match-up prior to the World Cup with 2 of the worlds biggest stars on show, but on the other hand it meant one of them wouldn’t be going to Brazil.
Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have been in sensational form so far this season, and where Ronaldo is simply banging in goal after goal, Zlatan has found a knack for scoring the sublime. So, as a soccer fan it is going to be a huge disappointment not seeing both players playing next Summer. Over the past few weeks, we were introduced to the latest CR7 customized boot in the form of the Vapor IX Supernova.
Ibra is part of the “everybody else” crew, sporting the very generic Electro Purple/Volt colorway. At one stage this season, Zlatan seemed to make a dramatic switch to the Hypervenom, but that lasted like a week before he switched back. We were never fully updated by Nike on why that happened but it seems like he missed his lightweight, speed boots!
Another twist in the tale is the fact that Adidas has already lost one of their big 2 adiZero stars, with Gareth Bale missing out. Wales were pretty mediocre in qualification and finished toward the bottom of their group, leaving Bale to sit on the side just as Ryan Giggs had to do throughout his career. Messi will be the man to head all of Adidas advertising campaigns, leaving the question of who will be spearheading the Nike side of things and battling Messi for the primary advertising slots?
Realistically, it is tough to imagine a tournament without Ronaldo at the fore, he is battling for title of “Worlds Best Player” at the moment, after all – a title he could very well take considering Messi’s recent spell on the sidelines due to injury. Nike would be taking a much larger hit if he was not there to showcase the Mercurial Vapor. Zlatan would become the front-runner for the Vapor range, but the likelihood is that the Swoosh would transition their primary focus toward Neymar and the Hypervenom range. Being that the tournie is in Brazil, Neymar was always going to be a central figure but Ronaldo is the guy that sells and Nike won’t want to see him missing.
And there is your dilemma – it is pretty incredible to think that a playoff series could completely alter the focus of a brand and the primary boots they showcase at a tournament!
What are your thoughts and who do you want to see in Brazil; Ronaldo or Ibra?