Neymar JR's match worn Nike Hypervenom Phantom 1

Neymar JR's match worn Nike Hypervenom Phantom 1

Player name: Neymar da SIlva Santos Júnior

Clubs: Santos, FC Barcelona, PSG

Country: Brazil

Position: Winger

DOB: 05/02/1992

Height: 5 ft 9 in

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, more commonly known as Neymar JR, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. He is widely considered as one of the very best players in the world. Neymar came into prominence at Santos in his native Brazil, where he made his professional debut aged 17. He helped the club win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and the 2011 Copa Libertadores; the latter being Santos' first since 1963. Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year, in 2011 and 2012, and soon relocated to Europe to join FC Barcelona. As part of Barcelona's attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, he won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League, and finished third for the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2015 for his performances. He then attained a domestic double in the 2015–16 season. In 2017, Neymar transferred to Paris Saint-Germain in a move worth €222 million, smashing the transfer record making him the most expensive player ever. In France, Neymar has, thus far, won three league titles, two Coupe de France, and two Coupe de la Ligue, which included a domestic treble and being voted Ligue 1 Player of the Year in his debut season. Neymar helped PSG attain a domestic quadruple in the 2019–20 season, and led the club to its first ever Champions League Final.
Now, what we have here is quite simply one of the greatest pairs of match worn boots we have ever had in our hands here at BCBootsUK. Neymar JR's match worn Nike Hypervenom Phantom 1's which he wore during the 2014-15 La LIga & UEFA Champions League season whilst playing for the Spanish giants FC Barcelona. A holy grail among the collecting world, this pair are simply like no other. This pair were worn by NJR in multiple high magnitude matches during that dominant season for FCB, including both legs of the UEFA Champions League Quarter & Semi Final's. Obscenely special.
An element which makes this pair that extra bit special is the fact that they are from the 2014-15 season, this was arguably NJR's best season during his career so far due to winning the treble that season with FC Barcelona, as well as finishing third in the FIFA Ballon d'Or, as mentioned above. He played a vital part in the club's success during that season, scoring a total of 39 goals and creating 10 assists in just 51 appearances.
As you can imagine, these aren't just any old pair of Hypervenom Phantom 1's that were sold to the general public by Nike. They feature a list of differences separating them apart from the standard variants, which is to be expected really, given that the tools for one of the best players on the planet have to be perfectly up to scratch to allow for optimal performance. 
Neymar JR's move to FC Barcelona, initially, was a complicated one in terms of transfer fee paid to Santos and to NJR's family. eymar was presented at the Camp Nou in front of 56,500 fans, a record turnout for a Brazilian player. Club vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu initially said Neymar's transfer fee was €57.1 million and his release clause set at €190 million. Barcelona's doctor suggested he might need to gain weight to be able to cope physically in Spanish football. In January 2014, the prosecutor's office in Madrid began investigating the transfer fee that Barcelona paid for Neymar as the documents submitted to the authorities on request contained contradictory information. On 23 January 2014, Rosell resigned from his position as president. A day later, the details of the transfer were revealed by Barcelona; the transfer had in fact cost them €86.2 million (£71.5 million), with Neymar's parents confirmed to have received a €40 million sum. In the aftermath, Barcelona and Bartomeu were charged with tax fraud.
Nationally, Neymar JR was a key player in Brazil's victories at the 2011 South American Youth Championship, where he finished as leading goalscorer, and the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. His participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa América was cut short by injury and a suspension respectively, before captaining Brazil to their first Olympic gold medal in men's football at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Two years later, having renounced the captaincy, he featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
This pair have been hand crafted and specially made to measure to Neymar JR's exact specifications and requirements by the technicians in Nike's Athlete Services factory located in Montebelluna, Italy. Due to their custom nature, the boots feature no size labels whatsoever as they are not a generic size, the width, height and shape have all been made around a last (mould) of NJR's feet in order for them to fit inch perfectly. The boots available to buy in stores are always of a general shape and fit so that companies can cater for the masses, but hey, not all of us are top sponsored athletes who get this kind of service like NJR. 
Neymar JR has always been a fan of personalising his boots, and this pair are no different. Each boot features his custom 'NJR' logo to the outstep, along with 'Ousadia' and 'Alegria' to the insteps. In English, these words translate to 'daring' and 'joy' respectively, words which really represent his overall game, a player who loves to stand out from the crowd and takes risks that no other player wants/has the ability to do. He actually has these very words tattooed on his calves, and in 2016 Nike specially created the 'Ousadia Alegria' Hypervenom 2 boots just for him. 
Each boot also features a music note to the instep area, which again symbolically represents his game - it's the little details like this that can have a big meaning. He has signed many sponsorship deals since his reputation began to grow from the young age of 17. In March 2011, he signed an 11-year contract with American sportswear company Nike, which recently ended in August 2020. He has since signed with Puma and has become the main face, the posterboy of the companies footballing operations. Whilst he was a front runner for Nike over the years, he still had to compete with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo for top spot, which was never really going to happen for as long as the great CR7 is still playing, so moving to Puma made sense. No so disimilar context with his move from FC Barcelona to PSG, he couldn't have ever been the main main there with Leo Messi at the helm.
The heels and tongues feature further personalisation just for NJR, with his squad number "11" being applied to the top of each tongue along with "D" & "L" to the heels. These letters represent his son's name "Davi Lucca". With NJR's Brazil national team squad number being 10, he only wore boots with 11 on for FC Barcelona.
During his club career, Neymar JR has thus far made a total of 410 appearances spanning across the 3 he has played at and, staggeringly, he has made a total of 156 assists and scored 247 goals. That works out to a direct goal involvement every 83 minutes... crazy. 
The most notable modification on Neymar JR's pair of Nike Hypervenom Phantom 1's from the "Intense Heat" pack is the soleplate, it is completely different to that of the retail variant. NJR has opted for the Tiempo Legend 4 FG soleplate, which came out in around 2011 and even though it is a fairly simple design in terms of stud configuration, it is still to this day one of the most popular soleplates with some of Nike's most elite sponsored athletes - nearly a decade after it was first released! The conical studs allow for a lower risk of injury on the best professional pitches as they have a lower tendency to get stuck in the grass as opposed to an arrow shaped blade. 
Above we can see a side by side comparison of the retail version Hypervenom Phantom 1 soleplate next to NJR's custom version. Aesthetically, the differences are on first glance not so obvious - which is exactly what Nike wants. As with all modified custom boots which are worn by the world's best players on the biggest stages in football, companies such as Nike and Adidas go to extreme lengths to disguise the differences. With this pair, they have made the soleplate itself transparent and applied the print of the retail version in between it and the upper construction of the boot. Therefore with the studs themselves see through, from a distance and on TV all we are likely to see is the black outline of the soleplate, to which initially we would all think is no different to any other FG Hypervenom Phantom 1. It really is clever trickery, but of course, if this was common knowledge at the time, questions would be asked of Nike as to why their main promoter for the Hyoervenom range isn't actually wearing what he's promoting.
In the football boot world, it's no secret that NJR hasn't always worn the boots in which he has been contractually promoting. He is no stranger to a pair of modified/disguised boots, most famously with the Hypervenom Phinish ii, a model in which he was again the posterboy for, he actually wore the Mercurial Vapor X model which simply had the paint job of the Hypervenom on. This became more and more apparent to the public as time went on with the more NJR was wearing them, as Nike didn't quite go to the extreme lengths required in order to cover this up completely to the naked eye and TV cameras. This shone a dark light over the American sports brand, and rightly so as this is, in essence, false advertisement. Leading consumers into believing a player is genuinely wearing a product in which they are promoting, when it is in fact not even close to the truth. There haven't been many cases of players wearing disguised models of boots to this magnitude, however, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Dani Alves wore the Adidas Nitrocharge 1.0... or so we were led to believe. They were actually a pair of F50 Adizero's with the Nitrocharge 1.0 paint job applied to them, however, with Dani Alves at the time being an avid Adizero wearer and with him not being in the lime light anywhere near as much as NJR, this wasn't such big news.
Above: a clear in game soleplate shot of Neymar wearing this exact pair during a La Liga match for FC Barcelona vs Espanyol  on the 25th April 2015. FCB went on to win the match 0-2 with NJR scoring the opening goal in the 17th minute of the match. Here we can see just how much it looks like a regular Hypervenom Phantom 1 soleplate from a distance. 
The conical studs of the Tiempo Legend 4 FG soleplate also provide the wearer with greater balance, due to the studs being symmetrically equal in terms of shape and the amount of them on either side. Where the standard soleplate featured different sized gaps in between the studs on either side of the boot, there were imbalances in both stud pressure and in general. With Neymar JR's playing style of being nimble and agile, he is required to change direction sharply and at great speed, so this soleplate really goes hand in hand with that style of play. The studs themselves are generally bigger than the standard Hypervenom Phantom 1 soleplate, so again, this will provide a benefit in the form of greater traction... at least on a professional pitch. There probably wouldn't be much difference between the two on a boggy Sunday league pitch!
A further small detail to the soleplate of NJR's pair is that the outer stud closest to the centre of the soleplate on each boot has been shaven down at an angle, presumably to reduce stud pressure in the midfoot area. Again, a small difference that can make a big impact. This will however be a player specific benefit, if another player did this whilst wearing the same soleplate they may not reap the same rewards as everyone's foot shapes are different!
For his country, Neymar JR is Brazil's second all time highest goal scorer having recently overtaken the great R9. He has scored 64 goals and made 43 assists in just 103 national team appearances, a goal tally which leaves him behind only Pelé- a player deemed to be one of the best ever - by just 13 goals. With NJR just 28 years old, it is likely he will overtake Pele to take the title and become Brazil's all time top goalscorer. R9, Pele, NJR - 3 of Brazil's most iconic footballers ever. 
A further modification that has been made to meet the specifications and requirements of NJR is the application of thick, stronger, insole boards to each boot. These are there to essentially reinforce the soleplate and overall make the boot stiffer and stronger/less flimsy... it's not always about weight reduction for wingers! These boards run the full length of each boot, being slightly thinner in the forefoot's for added flexibility in those areas. These boards have seemingly been built in partially over the top of a thinner one underneath, as we can see exposed stitching to the sides in the heel area from underneath. This is one of the most common modifications among world football's elite pro's, whilst the retail pairs sold commercially to the public get flimsier and more cheaply made year by year, the quality of the top players' boots remains high. The number '1176' has been written in the heel area, which will have been NJR's foot last ID number inside Nike's Montebelluna factory at the time. 
As is widely common with match worn boots from the world's best players, this pair come to us without any insoles in. Typically, this is because players tend to have special orthopaedic insoles made just for them and use them from one pair of boots to the next. Circled in the picture above of FC Barcelona celebrating their UEFA Champions League Semi Final success and progressing to the Final in the Camp Nou home dressing room are this exact pair of Neymar JR's Hypervenom Phantoms, if we look closely, we can spot there is a sky blue coloured insole inside each boot. These orthopaedic insoles for the top pro's tend to be made so specifically that they simply wouldn't be suitable for anyone but the player themselves, these are usually made by third party companies such as Podoactiva who specialise in that area of athlete equipment. In recent times we managed to acquire a pair of Gareth Bale's custom insoles, which were mind bogglingly custom. They featured solid carbon fibre from the heel up to the forefoot area, which from there was a paper thin sponge material. The top of the insole itself was lined in a thin suede material, baring the Podoactiva logo along with Bale's custom logo - this gives an example of the materials and specifications the top player's require from their insoles for optimal performance on the world's elite stage.
The overall shape of NJR's Hyperveom Phantom 1's are extremely different in comparison to the retail version, some parts more than others. The standard public version of this model was a relitively narrow fitting boot with a low profile and snug fitting heel counter, whereas Neymar JR's pair is pretty much the opposite to this. In the above picture, the extent of the differences aren't quite as obvious as when they are hand, but we can however notice that the heels are very wide - this is with the laces fairly tight. The cut is also quite high - no low profile-ness going on here! As well as the heel shape, the width of NJR's pair is considerably larger in all aspects in comparison to any Hypervenom Phantom 1. The toe boxes have also been made much higher than normal to accommodate the players' foot shape.
Above: we can see a side by side comparison of our shot with an up close in game picture (courtesy of Shutterstock) of Neymar JR wearing this exact pair in the UEFA Champions League Semi Final second leg tie, FC Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona, at the Allianz Arena on the 12th of May 2015. FCB lost the match 3-2 with NJR scoring both of FCB's goals in the 15th and 29th minutes respectively. This was a priceless 3-5 aggregate win for FCB, as they then of course went on to later lift the UCL trophy in the Final vs Juventus in Berlin, Germany.
Off the pitch, Neymar ranks among the world's most prominent sportsmen; SportsPro named him the most marketable athlete in the world in 2012 and 2013, and ESPN cited him as the world's fourth-most famous athlete in 2016. In 2017, Neymar was included by Time in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world. By 2018, France Football ranked Neymar the world's third highest-paid footballer, and in 2019, Forbes ranked him the world's third highest-paid athlete.
A truly special pair from one of the greatest players on the planet. With his fast rise to the pinnacle of world football early on in his career, and since moving to PSG, it is yet to be seen whether or not he will fill his potential of being crowned the world's best by winning the prestigious Ballon d'Or award. The likes of fellow natives and footballing greats R9 and Ronaldinho have stated on multiple occasions that they feel it is his destiny. At 28 years old, we would feel that the best is yet to come from NJR. Where does he rank in the world for you? Let us know in the comments section below...
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