Player name: Roberto Firmino Barbosa de Oliveira
Clubs: Figueirense, 1899 Hoffenheim, Liverpool
Position: Centre forward
Height: 5 ft 11 in
Roberto Firmino is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward or attacking midfielder for Premier League club Liverpool and the Brazil national team. After starting his career with Figueirense in 2009, he spent four-and-a-half seasons at Hoffenheim. His 16 goals in 33 games for the 2013–14 Bundesliga season earned him the award for the league's 'Breakthrough Player'. In July 2015, he signed for Premier League club Liverpool. His creativity, goalscoring and work rate have earned him plaudits at Liverpool, with manager Jürgen Klopp referring to Firmino as the "engine" that propels the club's counter-attacking system. In the 2018–19 season he won the UEFA Champions League, and the following season won the UEFA Super Cup, the FIFA Club World Cup after scoring the winner in the final, and the 2019–20 Premier League title, Liverpool's first league title in 30 years. Firmino made his international debut for Brazil in November 2014. He represented the nation at the 2015 Copa América, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 2019 Copa América and the 2021 Copa América, winning the 2019 tournament.
Here, we have managed to acquire not one, but two pairs of Bobby Firmino's match worn Adidas Nemeziz+ football boots. Both pairs were used during the 2020-21 season, in multiple matches in both the Premier League & UEFA Champions League. With Firmino being one of the very top elite forwards in European football, his custom boots (especially match worn pairs) are so scarce to come by, and thus the custom elements/details he has are unseen before in the public eye. Well, until now...
Born in Maceió, Alagoas, Firmino joined Figueirense's youth setup in 2008, aged 17, after starting out at CRB. He was discovered by a dentist, Marcellus Portella. With the latter, he was mainly used as a defensive midfielder. Firmino made his professional debut on 24 October 2009, coming on as a half-time substitute for Toninho in a 1–2 home loss against Ponte Preta, for the Série B championship. In January 2010 he was promoted to the main squad. Firmino scored his first professional goal on 8 May 2010, netting the winner in an away success against São Caetano. He contributed with eight goals in 36 appearances during the season, as Figueira returned to Série A after a two-year absence.
Both pairs have been specially custom made to measure inside Adidas' Athlete Services factory, which is located in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Incidentally, this is the same location as Adidas Headquarters... no mass produced retail version stuff going on here! As we can see above, Bobby wears a UK size 9.5 (or 10 in US). Adidas only state the UK size on their top sponsored athlete's boots when made in Germany, and they also state the size of the left & right boot individually (L/R). This is because many players have odd sized feet, and as Adidas make them so specifically by hand to exact measurements, often the size differs from left to right. They also state quarter sizes where necessary, which is something that is of course, again, not something you'd find on any retail version pair of football boots.
On 23 June 2015, while he was competing for Brazil at the Copa América, Hoffenheim and Firmino agreed terms for him to transfer to Premier League club Liverpool for up to £29 million on conclusion of the tournament, subject to a work permit. Liverpool confirmed the signing the following day, subject to a medical. The deal was finalised on 4 July. Since then, he has gone on to make 297 appearances for the club, scoring 90 goals and making 69 assists. Due to Firmino's wide range of skills, Thierry Henry described him as “the most complete striker in the Premier League."
Adidas have personalised both pairs for Firmino by adding some personal messages, along with some emojis. The left boots state 'Familia', with the Brazil flag & love heart emoji, which of course is a reference to the love he has for his family, whilst the right boots feature again the Brazil flag, but along with a football emoji & 'Sisenor'. This refers to the chant in which the Liverpool fans have for Firmino, he has publicly stated just how much he personally loves it, so he had Adidas add it to his boots. While chants about Mohamed Salah’s exploits on the wing and ‘Allez, Allez, Allez’ often reverberate around Anfield, there’s an even catchier tune to be heard coming from the Kop of the Sisenor chant. After putting the ball into the back of the net, Firmino cups his hand to his ear as if expecting Reds fans to belt out the chant. During the 2020-21 season, he stated: “It’s cool", “The rhythm of the song is a little Latin, a little La Bombonera. It is very motivating. For those on the pitch, it’s good to hear the fans singing their name, their music. It motivates us to do our best on the pitch and help the team.” The chant has become so iconic, that EA Sports added it into their FIFA video game.
Above we can see Firmino wearing the more worn pair of the two vs Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park Stadium in a Premier League fixture on the 19th December 2020. This proved to be a historic win for Liverpool, with them winning 0-7 which is almost unheard of for an away team victory, especially in the best league in world football. During this match, Firmino himself contributed to the scoreline with an assist, along with to superbly elegant goals, the pick of the two was the chipped finish, which perfectly represents his silky style of play. Firmino is also well known for his popular "no-look" goals. One of his best known goal celebrations, 'the Matador', features in the EA Sports video game, FIFA.
Above we can see a side by side comparison of the soleplate from the right boot of both pairs. With this particular Nemeziz+ model, which is from the 'Precision To Blur' pack, Adidas added a pearlescent effect finish to the sole, which wears off over time. On the pair which are more worn, this coloured finish has worn off almost completely, whilst the on the other pair this finish is still intact for the most part.
Above: Firmino sporting the more worn of the two pairs during a warm up prior to the UEFA Champions League Group D fixture vs Atalanta, at Anfield Stadium on the 25th November 2020. As we can see, this was one of the earlier fixtures in which he wore that pair, and at that stage the pearlescent finish had not worn off. The UCL is a competition in which he has made a total of 43 appearances, chipping in with 17 goals and 13 assists.
The overall shape of Firmino's Nemeziz+ boots is actually rather interesting. Whilst for the most part, in terms of shape, they look fairly standard they are however upon close inspection considerably different. The profile of the boots changes drastically from the heel area forwards, where, from the midfoot area, the boots have been made practically as flat as possible. The toe boxes themselves are totally flat, which implies that Firmino likes a 'barefoot' type of feel, where the upper material would stretch around the contours of his feet.
The differing styles of personalisation between the two otherwise identical pairs in visual terms is somewhat interesting. The fonts, phrases, emjois & flags used are all exaclty the same, however the placement is ever so slightly different. The lesser worn pair feature the flags & emojis above the word phrase, rather than all in one line like on the other pair. There will be no massive reason as to why Adidas have done this, it could be down to something as simple as which craftsmen inside the Adidas Athlete Services factory made the boots.
Inside are where the majority of the major modifications become apparent. Each pair feature built in custom insole boards, which are incredibly thicker than the ones found in standard retail pairs, with the main aim of this to be in order to make the boots stiffer whilst providing more support for the player. The material is a stiff plastic composite, which runs consistently from heel to toe throughout the length of each boot. Adidas have applied a layer of soft padding on top of the insole boards, to provide more comfort for Firmino and to essentially act as a shock absorber. In the images above, we can also see the production stickers which Adidas tend to apply to the heel area of the boots made in the Athlete Services Germany factory. Looking at the details, the production dates are both the same '10/20', which of course means October 2020. The fact that Firmino was wearing them just a few weeks later shows another difference between retail pairs, and ones like these. Typically, the mass produced pairs companies like Adidas make for retail sale on the commercial market are manufactured months before they reach the market, as opposed to just a few weeks with the top sponsored players' boots. The number '502001' refers to the factory number of the special centre.
During the 2020-21 season, Firmino scored 9 goals and made 7 assists in 36 appearances in the Premier League, however as we all know, Firmino's game is not represented in stats and numbers. Similarly, Eden Hazard is the same type of player in those terms. 3 of those Premier League goals were scored whilst wearing these pairs, vs Crystal Palace (as already mentioned earlier in this blog), and in the 2-1 win vs Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, where his goal was the stoppage time winner to clinch all 3 points.
These pairs also feature a custom interior heel construction, with them being made up of an extremely thick amount of padding, lined in a soft black suede material. A thin piece of this luxury suede material actually continues up the rear of the boot and is stitched over the edge in order to prevent any possibility of blistering, a necessary addition, when you consider the fact that someone like Firmino has to wear these out of the box, day in day out, so cannot afford for break in time.
What do you think of these special pairs of Adidas Nemeziz+, match worn by Roberto Firmino? Let us know in the comment section below!