Philippe Coutinho's match worn Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Elite SG-Pro
Player name: Philippe Coutinho Correia
Clubs: Inter Milan, Vasco da Gama, Espanyol, Liverpool, FC Barcelona, Bayern Munich
Position: Attacking midfielder/winger
Height: 5 ft 8 in
Philippe Coutinho Correia is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder or winger for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich on loan from Barcelona and the Brazilian national team. He is known for his combination of vision, passing, dribbling and ability to conjure curving long-range strikes.
Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Coutinho showed prodigious talent and excelled in Vasco da Gama's youth system. He was signed by Italian club Inter Milan in 2008 for €4 million and subsequently loaned back to Vasco, where he became a key player. He made his debut for Inter Milan in 2010, and was later loaned to La Liga club Espanyol in 2012. In January 2013, Coutinho joined English club Liverpool for £8.5 million. He flourished at Liverpool and earned himself the nickname "The Magician" from Liverpool fans and teammates. After he was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2015. In January 2018, Coutinho transferred to Barcelona in a record transaction fee reportedly worth €160 million, making him the world's second most expensive player.
Coutinho made his senior international debut in 2010. He was part of the Brazilian squad at the 2015 Copa América, the Copa América Centenario in 2016, and made his World Cup debut at the 2018 FIFA World Cup where he scored two goals and was named to the FIFA World Cup Dream Team; he was also a member of the Brazilian team that won the 2019 Copa América on home soil.
We are able to provide you with a close up insight into a pair of Coutinho's match worn Nike Mercurial Vapor 12 Elite's, which he used during the 2018-19 season whilst playing for FC Barcelona and the Brazilian national team.
This pair are heavily worn and feature multiple modifications which set them apart from the retail pairs. During the 2018-19 season Philippe made 54 appearences for FC Barcelona, scoring 11 goals and providing 5 assists.
Hand made in Montebelluna, Italy, in Nike's Athlete Services factory to Coutinho's exact specifications. Due to their custom nature, the boots feature no size labels, however they are measured to be around a UK size 6.5, 7.5 in US sizing.
An additional line of stitching has been applied, running across the whole width of the each boot in the forefoot area. This is to keep the thick cushioned lining in place on the inside.
Coutinho favoured the SG-Pro "Anatomical Speed System" soleplate stud configuration, which still features the split sole but was not made publicly available. Nike only supplied their top pros with this sole, whilst the only SG soleplate the general public were able to get their hands on was the "Anti-Clog" version, which very little pros ever wear.
Philippe wore this pair so much that part of the soleplate has actually split, note the crack in between the SG stud and the FG stud in the picture above.
One of the most noticeable customisation's on Coutinho's pair is the additional 3 lines of stitching applied to the heel of the right boot on either side. Here we can also see his personalisation "Aine' 14" with the Brazilian flag.
These lines of stitching relate back to when he famously cut a hole in the heel of his Nike Mercurial Vapor 11 boots whilst playing for Liverpool FC.
Interestingly this pair of Coutinho's Vapor 12's feature absolutely no heel support/structure whatsoever. Both heels are completely flexible, which although may add comfort and feel, this takes away most of the protection the boots can offer in the heel area.
The right boot has the 3 lines of stitching either side, which may add some sort of structure, however the left boot does not have these stitches. From this we can assume the reason Philippe cut the hole in the back of his Vapor 11 was to attempt to remove the heel structure until Nike could custom make a pair to his needs, like his Vapor 12's we have here.
The heel of the left boot is also noticeably taller than the right boot, which shows just how specifically the top players' boots are made. The FlyKnit and ACC branding and technology is still used on this pair.
Unlike what we see on retail pairs, this pair have no 3D style Mercurial branding on the M logo at the heel. The above picture also highlights how much smaller the right heel is in comparison to the left.
Above is a close up view of Coutinho wearing this pair at the Nou Camp for FC Barcelona, we can see the 3 lines of stitching in the heel area and the cut ends of the laces.
Though this pair have been personalised by Nike for Coutinho with his FC Barcelona squad number "14", he also wore them for the Brazil national team. For the national team kitman to identify them as Philippe's, his squad number "11" has been written inside.
Another modification Nike have made for Coutinho is by applying a layer of sponge like material inside each boot, which runs the full length of the inside. This may be instead of using a normal insole to save weight.
Many pros tend to cut the laces of their boots and Coutinho has done the same with this pair. As they are made to his specifications they are also slightly wider than the retail versions, which are known for being quite narrow.
This pair have some very interesting modifications, and they highlight how uniquely made the top pros' pairs are, making them incomparable to the pairs sold in regular stores to the public. Write your thoughts on this pair in the comment section below!