Every year a storm brews in the boots community as Nike prepare to launch the next chapter in their Mercurial saga. Already forums around the globe are rife with speculation and leaked images, and as the full reveal approaches it appears Nike are equipping lead players with their new footwear...
Until the full reveal we can't talk much about what Nike have planned for the next generation of their Mercurial football boots. We can however, show you the players currently play testing their new footwear which is of course blacked-out so not to reveal any of the tech advancements.
Snapped in training ahead of a Champions League clash with Napoli, was Didier Drogba sporting a blacked-out firm ground Mercurial boot. Whilst we can't say it's official Drogba is in the new Mercurial, one glance at the boot tells you what you're looking at, and also consider Drogba has been a flagship Mercurial wearer for some time.
Whilst Drogba's blacked out Nike Mercurial football boots don't give much away about the upper, (visually there are no stand-out design features both tech and aesthetically,) they do give us a preview of the sole-plate. We can't see in much detail, but it's clear Didier Drogba isn't wearing his favoured Mercurial SL sole-plate and stud configuration, so perhaps this is an area Nike have addressed.
Drogba isn't the only player allowed to try out his new footwear ahead of launch, as two Real Madrid players were photographed in the new Mercurials. Nike must have realised the reaction they'd get if Cristiano Ronaldo was seen wearing a new football boot, so instead it was team-mates and fellow Mercurial wearers Mesut Ozil and Marcelo spotted in the blacked-out footwear.
With the light reflecting off Mesut Ozil's football boots, it's clear Nike aren't giving much away ahead of launch. What we can see is a smooth upper with no ridges, suggesting Nike are no longer integrating their Flywire technology, and it also looks to be a wider lacing system.
Marcelo's football boots, complete with initial and squad number scribed on the side, match those of Didier Drogba and give us a glimpse of the sole-plate. The reddish colour on show would suggest the direct injected dual density studs have been carried over, albeit perhaps with a new configuration.
We'll be keeping a close watch on tonight's Champions League action, but it's likely none of these players will wear the new Mercurial football boots. We imagine the competitive debut is not only an honour reserved for Cristiano Ronaldo, but also Nike will manage their players aware of the exposure that would come from one of these high-profile players debuting the new Mercurial.
As a new era dawns for the Mercurial range, indeed the next versions of the Vapor will be the Nike Mercurial Vapor VIII football boots! SoccerBible will have all your exclusive imagery and photography of the new football boots, along with all the official tech info and developments from Nike.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming launch of the new Nike Mercurial football boots, and do you like the look of what you've seen on Didier Drogba, Mesut Ozil and Marcelo? Share your opinions and thoughts with the boots community online, on Twitter and on Facebook.