After letting the Phantom series soak up the spotlight over the past few months Nike are edging closer to unleashing their new-generation of speed as the next Mercurial makes a first training ground appearance. Inter Milan trio Marcelo Brozovic, Matteo Positano, and Radja Nainggolan all slipped into blackout editions as the Swoosh dished out the prototypes.

Yep, the main act is back on stage and while a release is far from imminent the sight of the 13th generation Mercurial Vapor on pitch suggests that we'll see the new silhouette in 2019, perhaps ahead of the 2019/20 season. This is the first appearance out of the garage for Nike's upcoming project, and it was left to the Inter Milan boys to take it for a test-drive around the club'sĀ Angelo Moratti training ground. All three players are contracted Mercurial players so there ain't much of a mystery surrounding the blackout design.

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As for the boot itself, it will feature laces. Nike are sticking to what works for them despite other brands opting for that slip-on option, and despite Inter's Croatian midfielderĀ Marcelo Brozovic removing the laces in training this afternoon. Of course, you'll have to wait until the boot is officially launched before Nike part with any real technology information but on first inspection the Vapor edition features what looks like a knitted and treated one-piece upper for an uninterrupted aesthetic. The Superfly is expected to lead the new-generation with its extended collar.

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The Mercurial has taken a bit of a backseat since the launch of the PhantomVSN and PhantomVNM, but Nike will be sure to stick their long-serving silo back on the map with a series of bold colourways on a boot that will be headlined by Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. Expect big things. For now though, it's a waiting game; Nike will slowly supply the blackouts to their leading professionals to get to grips with ahead of a full release which will mark a new chapter of speed for the Swoosh.

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If there was any doubt that it might be not be a Mercurial then that was dashed when Chelsea's Eden Hazard was also sporting the same blackout boot at the club's Cobham Training Ground later on Friday afternoon. Sharp.

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Stay tuned for more on the next-generation Nike Mercurial football boots...