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.

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.

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.

The Beautiful Game

Children Play Football Among Burning Tyres in Basra, Iraq. This is what the beautiful game is all about, as major protests continue across the country, the game never stops. Joga Bonito.

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