Football After COVID-19: How Will It Get Back On Track?

The summer is cancelled. UEFA has officially delayed Euro 2020 for 12 months. And in its place?  A post-apocalyptic TV schedule of Mrs Brown’s Boys reruns. Thanks, COVID-19.

Obviously, I’m not questioning UEFA’s decision. It was the right call. But it doesn’t half throw up some questions.

Like… what the hell are we supposed to do now? I need wonder goals, big tackles, knee slides. I wouldn’t even say no to a VAR debate right now.

Thankfully, however, the pain won’t last.

One day, our beloved teams will return to the pitches. And we’ll be back in the stands. And, what’s more, we won’t even complain about the price of a pint, because we’ll just be happy to be back.

Until that moment, however, let’s unravel the big questions on football after COVID-19.

Question One: When Might Football Return?

The short answer: no-one really knows.

The Premier League and English Football League have agreed to restart on April 30 at the earliest. But that’s a best-case scenario.

In all likelihood, the resumption will be much later. One suggestion has been to cram the remaining games into six weeks, starting June 1.

But that would mean ten Premier League games in 42 days for Sheffield United, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Man City. While the rest of the league still has nine ties each.

Throw in unfinished cup competitions and a mooted mini pre-season training and you’ll see how busy the period could get.

The one thing everyone seems to agree on, however, is that the current campaign must be completed. That is, of course, apart from a few die hard Man United fans who wouldn’t mind seeing Liverpool’s dominance end without a Premier League title.

Question Two: What Will Happen To The 2020/21 Season?

Again, that remains unclear. But, according to The Telegraph, the Premier League is planning to kick-off – as usual – in early August. And it wouldn’t surprise me if other top flight leagues followed suit.

Because a return to normality would mean leagues and clubs could honour their TV deals. And, of course, reap their lucrative rewards.

However, with the 2019/2020 season pencilled in to end just four weeks earlier, that doesn’t give players much time to rest.

Sacrifices will undoubtedly need to be made. And those pre-season tours to far-flung countries look vulnerable to me.

Question Three: What Will Happen To Euro 2020?

We already know Euro 2020 will actually take place in 2021.

Currently, the plan is to hold the tournament in 12 different countries. But ferrying thousands of fans across the continent seems unwise in these times.

Instead, UEFA official, Zbigniew Boniek, has hinted the tournament could be held in just one country. Which seems sensible.

But – and there’s always a “but” at the moment – what about the revenue loss for the other 11 countries? Or the fans who have already bought plane tickets? And what will happen to all that Euro 2020 merch that now has the wrong date on it? Only time will tell.

Question Four: What Should Football Fans Do In The Break?

First, stop watching endless Instagram stories from bored footballers. Then, head to FIFA’s YouTube channel to watch their selection of classic World Cup ties. Alternatively, visit uefa.tv to stream their offering of unforgettable Euros and Champions Leagues matches.

After, catch up on Netflix and Amazon Prime’s best documentaries about the beautiful game. If you have the former, check out Sunderland ‘Til I Die, a mini-series capturing the fall and fall of The Black Cats. While those with Amazon Prime should watch This Is Football, a beautiful tribute to everything we love about the game.

Finally, boost your bank balance and sell your old footie memorabilia at FutbolMarkt. While you’re there, join our free online community and chat to fellow fans about anything and everything football related.

Ramos Equals Red Card Record

In what can only be described as inevitable, Sergio Ramos today earned his 4th career red card in the UEFA Champions League, tying the record currently held up by Edgar Davids and a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Overall, it is his 26th career dismissal, only one behind Frenchman Cyril Rool.

However, it is unlikely that Ramos will end up with the record, currently held up by Colombian Gerardo Bedoya, who amassed a staggering 46 red cards in just over 20 years of play for club and country.

How many red cards do you think the Spaniard will finish on? Have your say in the comments below.

FC Barcelona – Home Kitstory

With one of the most iconic shirts in football, FC Barcelona can also lay claim to being one of the most successful clubs in the sport with legends like Ronaldo, Messi, Ronaldinho and Maradona wearing their colors. With their blue and maroon stripes (and lately also squares), the origin of the Blaugrana colors is a story of much debate.

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The most common theory is that the colors originated from Joan Gamper, the founder of FC Barcelona, and his love for his previous club FC Basel. A quick look at the Swiss team’s kits offers this theory much credence.

However, other theories. Probably the most improbable would be that a board member’s blue and maroon colored pencil inspired the kit during a board meeting in late 1899. Another is that two of the club’s early players, Englishmen Ernest and Arthur Witty, once brought back their local Merchant Taylors’ School Rugby shirts for all of the FC Barcelona players – who consequently donned the shirts for a match and the start of a long blue and maroon shirt history.

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The stripes of the shirt have also had a long-standing history. Aside from the 2015-16 season (horizontal stripes) and the current 2019-20 shirt (checkered), the stripes on the shirt have always been a consistent vertical. It’s no surprise that fans have often protested with these changes away from tradition.

Another important part of the shirt history is the sponsor. Until 2006, FC Barcelona were one of the few clubs left in professional football without a shirt sponsor emblazoned on the front of their shirts. The change was attributed to Joan Laporta’s board, who reached an agreement with UNICEF for the first shirt sponsor in the club’s history. Qatar Airways followed in 2011, followed by Rakuten in 2017 – along with Beko as their shirt sleeve sponsor.

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Throughout their long 120 year history, Barcelona has had just three shirt suppliers. Sponsorless until 1982, they were then supplied by Meyba from 1982 to 1992, Kappa until 1998, and by Nike ever since.

A final point in the history of the FC Barcelona home kit are the shorts. Interestingly, the first shorts were white, followed by black, with blue only coming into play from the 1920s. Since then, the majority of kits have had blue with the occasional black, or maroon being used on odd occasions.

Follow the FutbolMarkt blog for more Kitstories!

Real Madrid – Home Kitstory

Arguably the most successful football club in the world, the undisputed Kings of Europe with 13 Championships and the only team to have successfully defended their UEFA Champions League title, not once but twice in a row, Real Madrid are a team with a great history and a kit that has always been recognized globally.

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Since the club was founded on the 6th of March 1902, the team has worn an all-white uniform. The origin of this practice coincides with the introduction of football to Madrid. To participate in a match the “primitive” players took off their regular clothes and played in their underwear: a white undershirt and white shorts. Teams wore colored bands across their chest to differentiate each other, but they fell off easily and so new uniforms had to be found. As the first club in Madrid, the Madrid Football Club retained the right to wear all-white as their uniform.

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The sole exception to this was the year 1925 when they wore black shorts in order to replicate one of the most famous teams of that time: London’s Corinthian F.C. This experiment lasted only one year though because during that season they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) by Barcelona with a 1-5 loss in Madrid and 2-0 loss in Barcelona’s stadium. Because of this the president decided that this kit brought nothing but bad luck and the team returned to their all-white uniform.

Minor changes have been made to Real Madrid’s kit through the years. Buttons were added in the early 1940’s as well as the club’s crest on the left breast. In 1947 Real Madrid became the first team in Spain to wear numbered shirts.

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The club’s crest has also changed from the first design to what we know now. It started as a simple design that featured the club’s initials “MFC” in dark blue which after a few years evolved into a more streamlined design featuring the initials inside a circle. In 1920 King Alfonso XIII granted the club his royal patronage in the form of a title: Real Madrid. and the king’s crown was also added to the logo. During the civil war all the royal symbols were eliminated and the crown in the logo was removed and replaced by a dark mulberry band of the region of Castille. After the end of the war the crown was restored and the mulberry band was retained while also making the crest full color.

Juventus – Home Kitstory

Juventus Football Club, La Vecchia Signora (The Old Lady) from northern Italy is one of Europe’s classic teams. Legendary players such as Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane and now Cristiano Ronaldo have taken the field at the Delle Alpi (now Allianz Stadium) wearing the iconic black and white striped shirt.

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It all began in 1897 when the club was founded in Turin by a group of students. The original uniform that the first Juve team wore was, surprisingly, white with a black tie. They played with this plain uniform for two seasons and then, to stand out from the other teams, a pink shirt with a black tie was introduced. The father of one of the players had made the shirt but they soon faced the issue of the color fading after continuous washing. This made it necessary for the team to look for a replacement.

It was in 1903 that one of Juve’s players, Englishman John Savage, called up his contacts back in England to find new shirts in a color that wasn’t so prone to fading. Savage got in touch with a friend who lived in Nottingham and was of course a fan of local team Notts County, and he shipped out the black and white striped shirts worn by “The Magpies” (Notts County) straight to Turin. Juve have worn those colors ever since – considering them to be powerful and aggressive.

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Changes to the kit since 1903 have been minor. In 1979 Juve for the first time added the manufacturer’s logo to the jersey (then Kappa). 20 years later they changed their shirt supplier to Lotto, then Nike and now Adidas until at least 2021.

Another element that has changed in Juve’s kit through the years has been their sponsors. They have had 14 different shirt sponsors since 1981 when they proudly wore Ariston’s logo. The latest partnership they have is with Jeep, this deal will go on until at least 2022.

So there you have it. The “Old Lady” has worn the same colors for most of their history. This iconic shirt is sure to be recognized anywhere in the world, especially now that they have Ronaldo on their ranks.

Manchester United – Home Kitstory

For many years now Manchester United has been ranked as the most valuable football club in the world. According to the english newspaper The Independent, the team was worth 3.255 billion Euros as of 2018. This is the result of a global branding effort that has made their kit the most recognized globally. But did you know that the “Red Devils” once wore green and yellow uniforms? Or that a blue cord once adorned the white shirts of the Manchester United players?

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Formed in 1878 as the Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon Department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, they played mainly against other departments and rail companies. Back then it was common for players to wear whatever they had, and players were distinguished by their caps, not their kits. Although there is a mention from The Sportman’s Yearbook from the 1879/80 season that has the team wearing a white shirt and a blue cord.

In 1980 they competed in their first recorded match wearing the railway company’s colors: green and gold. According to historians these shirts were made of cashmere. They wore those colors up until the 1887/88 season when they wore red for the first time, red and white to be exact.

In the 1893/94 season the relationship between the football team and the railway company was strained and perhaps as a last ditch effort to maintain this relationship the team wore the company’s colors once again, the kit for the season was a green and gold striped shirt.

The team struggled financially for almost a decade before being acquired by Captain Harry Stafford in 1902. Together with other investors they decided to change the team’s name to Manchester United. It was during this season that the Red Devils started wearing the solid red kit with white shorts and black socks that they are known for throughout the world.

Stay tuned for more KitStories on FutbolMarkt!

The Process of Changing Boot Sponsors

A footballer has a number of reasons to change their boot sponsor. They might want more money, they might have similar values to their new boot sponsor, they might want their own signature shoe and go to a less popular shoe in order to get one.

New brands like Puma and New Balance have created a deep market for footballers looking for a new boot sponsor. A football player ́s individual sponsorship is in many cases his second main source of income. Elite players will have brands lock down their loyalty with large amounts of money and different conditions.

Often players will black out their boots when in the process of negotiating a fresh new boot deal with another company. They don’t want to give out free advertising. For a number of elite players, wearing the particular branded football boot is only one part of an overall brand ambassadorial role. It means that for all public activities a player’s role will not only be wearing particular footwear, but most likely also be kitted out, depending on the circumstances, in the brand’s clothes when attending photo sessions and promotional appearances.

Here is a list of players that axed that boot sponsor and looked for a new deal with a competitor.

Aaron Ramsey
Many fans were discouraged when Ramsey started wearing New Balance boots, He had just come off a season where he had dominated the premier league with 18 goals in the 2013/14 season wearing Adidas. It was also a major shock because he was one of the faces of New Balance, likely to have a signature shoe but he still decided to go back to Adidas in 2018. From the outside it illustrates that Ramsey actually left because he doesn’t enjoy playing in New Balance boots, and would prefer to take less money, for more comfort and performance on the football pitch. 

David Silva
Manchester City star David Silva joined Puma from Adidas. David Silva said on the move “I was already wearing PUMA football boots when I was a kid and I am looking forward to wearing the brand again. Some peopIe call me ‘El Mago’, so for my next trick I’ll be wearing the PUMA One.”

Cesc Fabregas
He was a Nike player during his entire time at Arsenal and even in his first year as a Barça player. Then, in 2011 PUMA pulled off one of their biggest ever signings by capturing the signature of Cesc Fabregas from Nike. The Monaco midfielder put pen to paper with PUMA on a five-year-deal worth £16million, which at the time made him the third highest earner from a boot deal behind just CR7 and David Beckham.

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Mesut Ozil
Mesut Özil’s relationship with Nike turned pretty sour. Under the terms of their deal, Nike had the right to match any offer made by potential rival sponsors before he could legally switch brands, but with his contract up Özil began wearing the Adidas F50. Nike took court action which resulted in Özil being fined £122,000 every time he laced up in Adidas and forced him to either wear Nike or unbranded boots. In August this year Özil unsurprisingly left Nike to officially join the Adidas team in a deal believed to be worth up to €25 million until 2020.

Sergio Aguero
The Argentinian was in the Liga BBVA with Atletico de Madrid wearing Nike boots, but didn’t have a strong image on the brand – something he did achieve with Puma after he arrived in England to play for Manchester City. Sergio Aguero could see more value in pursuing a brand like Puma because he will be valued more and thus have more control over his career. Aguero came in to the Premier League wearing Puma V1.11.The Aguero capture began a spending spree for PUMA who have since built a strong squad of top players. Aguero has had some memorable moments for Puma to cherish with one of the most famous goals the Premier League will ever see, that last minute winner against QPR to clinch the Premier League title. Do you think he’s missing his days with Nike?

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Paul Pogba 
Paul Pogba was a Nike player for several years. He has recently become the most important signed player of the year by Adidas and it will be difficult to see him wearing another brand. Pogba signed a 10-year deal in 2016 worth a staggering £31 million.After a reported bidding war between Nike and Adidas, Pogba stated.“I chose Adidas because we are united by our passions and values. We have the same vibes on and off the field.”

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Lionel Messi
During Leo Messi ́s first games with the first team we saw him wear Nike boots but this would not last since Adidas saw the talent in the Argentinian player and immediately decided to offer him a top contract when he was only 18 years old.The Argentine took his first steps in top-flight football wearing a pair of Nike Air Zoom Total 90 IIIs. On 1 February 2006, Messi playing in the Copa del Rey tie against Real Zaragoza wearing a pair of Adidas F50s. After 42 minutes he opened his Adidas account. In February 2017 Adidas made sure Nike wouldn’t be able to get their football boots back in the door by handing Messi a lifetime contract.When a 40-year-old Messi is playing as a holding midfield, he’ll be doing so wearing Adidas.

Adidas Predator Mania

The Adidas Predator Mania was first released in 2002, making a splash during the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan. Often considered to be the most elegant and coveted of the predator series, the boot saw production in numerous colorways including black and red, white and red and a limited edition world cup model in blue. But what made this boot so iconic, was the consistent red fold-over tongue.

A favorite of many icons of that era, the boot was worn by legends such as Zinedine Zidane, Steven Gerrard, Alessandro Del Piero and Raul – just to name a few.

But, perhaps the most famous player to wear the boot, was David Beckham. When you think Mania, you think DB7. Often seen sporting the white and red editions of the boot, Beckham emblazoned his initials and the names of his children on his boots, and rolled down the tongue to its maximum – inspiring the world to rock the Mania in a similar way.

So successful was the boot, that Adidas broke the internet and rolled out a remake in 2017 of the Adidas Predator Mania Champagne – fully-loaded with the latest stud configuration and the iconic red tongue.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Sponsorships

Five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, UEFA Best Player in Europe winner, four-time Champions League winner, four-time FIFA World Club winner – who else but “Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro”.

Widely acknowledged as one of the best players of our time, he has proved his worth a countless number of times. In the footballing world, Ronaldo is synonymous with football – from Sporting Lisbon, to a record-breaking six years with Manchester United, an imperious time and trophy-laden Real Madrid, and now all the way to Italy with Juventus where he already has a total of 15 goals and 8 assists in just 24 appearances.

But we are not here to talk about his records or titles, instead we are going to focus on the most marketable athlete in the world.

The Portuguese captain has had in a long-term, 15 year relationship with Nike and he has worn over 70 different editions of the mercurial boots with the famous swoosh symbol. It all began in 2003 when he was first spotted with the Nike Mercurial Vapor, the boot family he has stayed with to-date.

As a testament to his value for Nike, Ronaldo was awarded with a lifetime deal in 2016 with the sportswear giants. In a deal Nike reported to be worth around $1 billion, Ronaldo joined an elite group – the only sports stars in history that have that have garnered such deals are Michael Jordan and LeBron James (Micheal Jordan was paid over $473 million since 1993 by Nike, even though he retired in 2003).

Moving away from Nike, it is estimated that Cristiano Ronaldo makes over $108 million a year, aside from some of his other deals with some other big names like:

EA Sports – He has appeared on the famous game cover of FIFA 18 and FIFA 19 video games.

KFC – He was a KFC ambassador from 2013 to 2016, and was paid $0.75m annually. He also featured in some of their adverts.

Castrol Oil & petrol: Ronaldo became the brand Ambassador of Castrol in 2009 by signing a deal worth £8.2m for two years. He recently extended his affiliation with Castrol as he renewed his contract for £5.5m

Panzer Glass: This deal started in 2017 and still running. He makes $0.5m every year for the company to use his CR7 branding on their products.

Emporio Armani: He was paid $1.6m annually for four years. He earned a total of $4.8m from Armani.

Other deals are Herbalife, American Tourister, Egyptian Steel and others just to name a few.

When he’s not working with other brands, Cristiano is building his own brand of underwear (named after himself) – which has now expanded into different categories like sportswear, footwear, and sock collections.

The most marketable athlete on earth? Probably. Cristiano Ronaldo ladies and gentleman.

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