From 1930, to 2014. The World Cup has been in existence for almost a century, time in which some of football’s most magical moments have been witnessed before our very eyes.
However, despite the phenomenal moments, what seems to slip under the radar is the players’ choice of boots. In the tournament’s early stages, most players had little choice in what they wore on their feet as a result of very few options.
As football has become more popular and players have become more marketable, brands such as Nike and adidas have got involved in the fashion side of proceedings, with some exquisite results.
You’ve seen the greatest kits. Now, here are a select few of some of the most beautifully unique football boots in World Cup history…
Luca Toni (Italy) Lotto Zhero Gravity – 2006
Luca Toni led his country to World Cup glory over the French back in 2006 sporting a white and gold version of the Lotto Zhero Gravity boots.
The Italy forward’s choice of boot was strange, given the fact that he was the only high profile player to don the boot, but they were oddly likeable given their uniqueness.
Ronaldo (Brazil) Nike Mercurial Vapor I – 2002
Nike gifted ‘O Fenômeno’ a chrome version of his Nike Mercurials for him to wear in the semi final and the final of the 2002 World Cup, a boot that has now gone down in history.
Ronaldo was perhaps the most marketable footballer in the world at the time, and boy did Nike realise that. They pushed Brazil’s number nine as their campaign star over Thierry Henry and Francesco Totti, and rightly so after they were repaid with eight goals and a World Cup win from their poster boy.
Neymar (Brazil) Nike Hypervenom Phantom – 2014
The star of the 2014 World Cup before a ball had even been kicked, Neymar was heralded as the tournament’s most marketable star as he was the host’s most important player.
Unfortunately, Neymar’s tournament ended prematurely after sustaining a back injury against Colombia. He had dazzled beforehand, however, scoring four goals, but had to watch on helplessly as his teammates were humiliated by Germany.
Roberto Baggio (Italy) Diadora – 1994
In heartbreaking fashion, Roberto Baggio missed the decisive spot kick as Italy lost on penalties to Brazil in the final. One scant consolation, however, was that he did it in as much style as a moment so horrendous could be done.
Baggio won the Silver Ball for his efforts in the tournament whilst sporting a now iconic pair of Diadora boots, which have become synonymous with the Italian forward and his magical footballing ability.
Diego Maradona (Argentina) PUMA King Maradona Super – 1986
Diego Maradona captained La Albiceleste to World Cup glory back in 1986, scoring five goals, including one against England (no, not the first one) that has been regarded as one of the greatest in history.
Argentina’s number 10 did the aforementioned whilst wearing a pair of PUMA Kings, a boot which he performed so admirably in that Puma created a modern day release of it. Aren’t they just beautiful?
Ronaldo (Brazil) Nike Mercurial R9 – 1998
Before the iconic striker donned the chrome Mercurials in 2002, Ronaldo competed at the 1998 World Cup finals wearing a boot that has gone down in history as one of the greatest of all time.
‘R9’ made it all the way to the final with Brazil wearing a blue and silver colourway of his Mercurials, and it has since been remade by Nike in a quite phenomenal release.
Zinedine Zidane (France) Adidas Predator Absolutes – 2006
A boot which will forever hold history as the pair Zinedine Zidane wore whilst executing THAT headbutt on Marco Materazzi. The Frenchman’s gold edition of the famous Adidas Predator boot has to be regarded as one of, if not the best, pair of boots in World Cup history.
It’s a shame that the current Real Madrid manager could not end his international career by lifting the trophy in such a fitting boot, but nonetheless, you can’t take anything away from these gorgeous Predators.