It was the first World Cup that I remember watching. The 1998 world cup will definitely have lasting and different impacts on different people. For me it was the real introduction of arguably three of my top four favorite players of all time, Zidane , Dennis Bergkamp, and El Fenomeno Ronaldo (My fourth footballing hero would become Gianfranco Zola but he was no longer playing with the national team in 1998).
That tournament was incredible to watch and so was Ronaldo. It may have taken Ronaldo until his second game to lodge his first goal of the tournament but it was a beauty. Certainly an aspect that any young fan will remember was seeing the R9 Mercurials he was wearing. Nike, known around the world as a brand but also for having some of the best tag lines in sports had a memorable on for the new boot: “Ultralight, so your legs can be as fast as your imagination”.
Nike has now released, in its 15th anniversary, a Vapor IX homage to its founding father. Obviously the colorway remains the most unique aspect of the design but the yellow has moved over for Nike’s more signature lime green accent. Ronaldo was already considered the best player in the world at the time he donned the originators of the Mercurial line, but certainly these boots are a caveat that some bring up when discussing the memories of watching such a player in his prime.
True to style, Nike only released 1,998 pairs of this celebratory boot but needless to say, it will be the envy of many a fan, especially fans in their mid twenties who were just discovering the beauty of this wonderful game at the time this was released onto the feet of El Fenomeo.
If you want to see the whole Nike press release, click here.