If you’re one of the biggest sporting brands in the known universe, whenever you’re launching a killer new boot you want a player in them who’s going to deliver.
So, it’s no surprise that when there’s a new Mercurial waiting in the wings, Nike have constantly relied on Cristiano Ronaldo to put them in the spotlight.
We’re not even at the end of January yet, and already Cristiano Ronaldo has worn two different Nike Mercurial Vapor IX‘s – a personalised, white version and the launch Fireberry colourway – and scored a brace when wearing both for the first time.
So, one thing that got us thinking about – aside from the obvious: “Gee, Cristiano Ronaldo sure wears a lot of boots” – how good is CR at turning up the style when Nike need it most?
Now, we’ve done a few features on the Portuguese Captain’s boots, so we already had a rough idea – but going over the data makes for some incredible reading!
Starting from the Mercurial Vapor IV, Ronaldo has been remarkably consistent at scoring in new boots. One of the select few to debut the Vapor IV in 2008, Ronaldo hammered home a hat-trick against an unfortunate Newcastle in a 6-1 rout, wearing the Orange peel launch colourway.
At the end of that season, Nike asked a player from each of the team participating in the UEFA Champions League final to wear the revered Mercurial SL. Whilst Drogba – ever the one for boot superstition - opted for a ‘regular’ pair of Vapor IV’s, Ronaldo was happy to wear the all-Carbon SL’s in Moscow, scoring Manchester United’s only goal in regular time and picking up a winner’s medal in the process.
Following the ground-breaking SL, the era of the Superfly dawned. An all-Nike Champions League clash was the chosen fixture for the Superfly I’s debut as Manchester United took on Inter Milan, and the Swoosh once again called up Ronaldo to face off against Zlatan Ibrahimovic to give the Superfly a debut to remember.
And Cristiano did just that – scoring a vital second for United to win the match 2-1.
By the time the Superfly II launched, and Ronaldo had sought a new challenge at Real Madrid. After already bagging 25 goals so far in the season, Ronaldo added another double against Getafe to mark the launch of the Violet Mercurials.
The Superfly III is notable for being the only new Mercurial launch Cristiano Ronaldo did not score in on it’s maiden game. Whilst Ronaldo was pivotal in a hard-fought 2-1 win in the Madrid Derby, he was not among the goals (though Mesut Ozil did bag the winner in his!).
Coming around to last year’s Mercurial Vapor VIII, Ronnie was back on form: slotting two past Real Socidad in the Mango Vapor VIII.
Now we come round to the Vapor IX, which has kind of had two debuts on the feet of Mr. Mercurial – and he’s scored braces on both of them.
But it’s not just new models of Mercurial that seem to put Ronaldo in a scoring mood, either.
Since arriving at Madrid, Cristiano has worn 23 different colourways of Mercurial Vapor – and has scored 17 goals when wearing a new pair for the first time!
Additionally, Real Madrid have won 22 of the games where Ronaldo has been wearing a new colourway – the only loss coming in this year’s Super Copa defeat to arch-rivals Barcelona (Which was the debut of the Orange Peel Superfly III, FYI) and Ronaldo has never lost when debuting a new model of Mercurial.
Is there any one player better to give a new pair of boots to than Cristiano Ronaldo?
Let us know in the comments!