FC Barcelona knew they faced a difficult away trip to Osasuna this weekend, but found themselves battling the elements as well as the opposition, as the frozen turf forced them into some unusual footwear choices.
The Catalan side were undone by a determined Osasuna, as Pep Guardiola fielded a youthful-looking side in Pamplona.
However, a combination of the weather and a frozen pitch may have played a part in the Blaugrana’s latest away defeat as the hard surface forced some last minute footwear changes amongst Barcelona’s Nike-sponsored charges.
Key members of the Barca line-up were forced to switch out of their usual football boots just prior to kick-off, after determining the pitch was too hard to play on in a standard FG soleplate.
This meant that Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Thiago, Pedro and Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez all played their part in the game out of their regularly-assigned Nike boots.
All of the aforementioned players opted not to play on the ‘bladed’ soles of their usual cleats, instead opting to play on an AG soleplate, usually reserved for artificial turf.
For all the players involved, this means stepping out of Nike’s top-level boots, and into the takedown versions; Gerard Pique ditched his £275 Nike Tiempo Legend Elites for a £70 pair of CTR360 Trequartista’s, whilst Pedro and Alexis Sanchez were forced to swap their bespoke £280 Superfly III‘s for the £55 T90 Strike.
Interestingly, adidas had equipped their players for such an eventuality, as Leo Messi rolled out his signature Prime Blue / Core Energy adiZero‘s in an AG soleplate; a rare sighting of an Artificial Ground Sprintframe in Europe.
That said, even the specialist boots worn by some of the best players in the World weren’t enough to prevent a 3-2 scoreline, and Pep Guardiola’s men will likely be left to rue the poor playing conditions as they fell 10 points behind Real Madrid at the top of La Liga
Thanks to Abrahan Jose Ruano Sorzano, DD Chile and Danny Xavi for alerting us to this unusual occurance, and providing some detailed analysis on this mass boot-swap over on our Facebook page!