Cristiano Ronaldo's mission to reclaim his position as the world's best soccer player is being given a boost by an unusual cleat design that aims to fool his opponents.
The Real Madrid star's form this season has been boosted by special camouflage technology created by his sponsor Nike, which takes away one method opposing defenders use to stop him.
Ronaldo's new Nike CR Mercurial Vapor Superfly III creates the illusion that Ronaldo is about to turn in one direction, when actually his feet are about to move a different way.
"The movement of feet is something a lot of players are looking to see," explained Nike designer Andrew Caine in an interview with ThePostGame.com. "If you are a defender looking at Cristiano, you are going to visually see which way his body is going to move to combat him. So the idea of having a play on the visual makes it a little bit more difficult to understand and read the body's moves to see where he will go. Visual deception is the play on this one.
"We started off with how would he look on the wing and how would he look from different perspectives on the field. We did some stuff during the World Cup using a bright orange color to help players see their teammates' feet more easily. This goes in the opposite direction. With this boot you see slightly different feet depending on what side of him you are looking at."
The cleats look remarkably different from each side of Ronaldo. From the right, they have a clean look with pinstripes. From the left, though, there are thick stripes with a red accent line. Furthermore, the asymmetrical design makes a defender's judgment that much harder, as the visual effect of Ronaldo turning his foot in one direction may not come across exactly the same as reality.
Ronaldo was heavily involved in the process and Caine flew to Madrid on three separate occasions with different prototypes for his examination. Despite the player’s reputation as a fashion icon, his primary concern was not about pure looks, but about how the shoe could positively impact his game.
The results had been impressive until last Saturday, when Ronaldo suffered his worst game of the season and Real Madrid's 15-game win streak was brought to a crashing halt by Barcelona's brilliant 3-1 victory.
That performance from Barca has once again put Lionel Messi at the front of the discussion for the FIFA Ballon D'Or, the world player of the year award, with Ronaldo most likely destined to finish in second place again.
Yet Ronaldo insisted his main focus for the season is helping Madrid end Barca’s recent of recent success, rather than individual accolades.
"Achieving personal things is nowhere near as satisfying as when you achieve things as a team," Ronaldo said. "Winning La Liga or the premier club competition in Europe will be far more special. Last season may have been my best ever and that made me happy. But I'd gladly score 10 goals less if it saw us win the league or other major competitions.
"If you can promise me that deal right now, I will sign on the dotted line. Oherwise I must keep scoring as many as possible, and hoping those goals will help us win more trophies."
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