Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal since lockdown in Juventus’s 2-0 win over Bologna this week, breaking yet another record as the highest scoring Portuguese in Serie A history. But it wasn’t a first goal for his new signature Mercurial Superfly VII ‘Safari’ as might have been expected…

After its initial reveal on 15 May, Cristiano Ronaldo was finally able to debut his new signature edition Mercurial Superfly VII ‘Safari’ following the return of football in Italy. Nike released the boot in honour of a decade of dominance, revisiting the OG Safari design from his first-ever signature boot, which was released 10 years prior. The return was the perfect platform on which to showcase the stunning design... but things didn’t quite go according to plan. 

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The script would’ve had Ronaldo slotting home the winner in the boot that saw the continuation of the greatest signature line in football history. Instead though, a stagnant display was capped off by an uncharacteristic penalty miss in the Coppa Italia semi final game against Milan – a game that ended 0-0 but saw Juve advance on away goals, the first leg having ended 1-1. And that was followed by an equally underwhelming performance in the final against Napoli, which Juve lost in a penalty shootout following another goalless stalemate.

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Critics were quick to point to a lack of match fitness from the Portuguese, claiming the five time Balon d’Or winner was off the pace. Fans also criticised his contributions, calling him 'selfish' following the penalty shootout against Napoli. As one of the best penalty takers on the team (despite his miss against Milan) the expectancy would have been to see him take one of the earlier penalties, but instead he took the fifth slot; the presumption being that he had chosen to take Juventus's last spot kick for a shot at glory, only to watch as misses from Paulo Dybala and Danilo meant that he never got the chance.

Whatever the reason for this off-spell, Ronaldo himself is not one to question his own performances. Instead, it appears as though the blame from his perspective has been apportioned to superstition, after he otherwise inexplicably turned out for the Old Lady’s first Serie A game since the restart in the Mercurial Superfly VII ‘Dream Speed 2’ – the boot he had been wearing prior to lockdown, and a boot within which he had enjoyed a fine vein of form. Footballers are a funny old breed, and the likelihood is that, while the performance side of the boot cannot be questioned, a penalty miss, two goalless games, a trophy loss and a host of missed opportunities were enough to convince Ronaldo that his latest signature edition just wasn’t working for him.

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As if to compound the situation, Ronaldo scored against Bologna – yep, from the penalty spot – securing yet another record, this time as the highest scoring Portuguese in Serie A history, setting Juventus on the way to a 2-0 win and another step closer to a ninth straight league title. We’re not saying that we’ve seen the last of the Mercurial ‘Safari’ on the feet of Ronaldo, but if superstition does indeed have a part to play, then that goal against Bologna could well be the final nail in its coffin. Still one hell of a design, but perhaps just coming a little too soon after the restart, before the great man has really hit his stride.

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Pick up the Nike Mercurial Superfly CR7 'Safari' at