Robin Van Persie's match issued Adidas Predator Lethal Zones
Player name: Robin Van Persie
Clubs: Fayenoord, Arsenal, Manchester United, Fenerbace, Fayenoord
Height: 6 ft 0 in
Robin Van Persie s a Dutch former professional footballer who played as a striker. Regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, he is the all-time top scorer for the Netherlands national team. Van Persie made his senior debut for Feyenoord during the 2001–02 season, which culminated with victory in the 2002 UEFA Cup Final; he was also named as the Dutch Football Talent of the Year. After five years with Feyenoord, he fell out with manager Bert van Marwijk, and he joined English club Arsenal in 2004 for £2.75 million as a long-term replacement for compatriot Dennis Bergkamp. At Arsenal, Van Persie won the 2004 FA Community Shield and the 2004–05 FA Cup. He scored a club record of 35 goals in 2011 and was club captain for the 2011–12 season, prior to joining rivals Manchester United in July 2012. In his first season, he won the 2012–13 Premier League and finished as the league's top scorer with 26 goals, winning his second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot award.
After two injury-hit seasons followed, Van Persie fell out of favour at Manchester United and he was allowed to leave for Fenerbahçe in July 2015. During his spell in Turkey, Van Persie featured regularly in his first season, but saw limitations in playing time in the following two campaigns after suffering with injuries, with both club and player agreeing to a buyout in January 2018, after which he rejoined Feyenoord on a free transfer. By the end of the season he had helped his boyhood team win the Dutch Cup, his first trophy since the 2013 FA Community Shield.
Here we have an incredible bespoke pair of RVP's Adidas Predator Lethal Zones boots, which were custom made for him by Adidas to wear during the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament whilst playing for the Netherlands national team. As you can see from the above picture, they are not just any old pair of Pred LZ's...
Throughout his legendary career, we saw RVP rock some absolutely insane boots. Adidas did really look after him in terms of the tools they supplied him with, not many players get treatment like that. It's safe to say the man knows what he likes, and is just as big of a boot nerd as us!
Van Persie started his senior club career as a left winger and possessed an exceptional ball control and was also a talented striker of the ball. He was bought by Arsenal as a long term replacement for Dennis Bergkamp. Manager Arsène Wenger planned to convert Van Persie from a left winger to a central forward as he had successfully done with star player Thierry Henry. He was at first mostly deployed as a supporting forward in League Cup and FA Cup matches. Due to the retirement of Bergkamp and departure of Freddie Ljungberg, Van Persie was given a starting role to play alongside Henry as a second striker upfront. From then, a true world class striker was born and the rest is history.
As with most of Adidas' top sponsored athlete's, they have custom made RVP's boots to measure to his exact specifications and requirements. As this pair were made before Adidas changed their made in Germany player boots size tags to the "Athlete Services" ones we see today, they feature the previous style label. It states "SAMPLE" and has the art number as being "MTM" (made to measure), with the factory number "502001" which relates to the Herzogenaurach factory - the same location as Adidas Headquarters. The number "410" under the "MTM" relates to RVP's foot last/mould inside the factory. His feet are a very specific size UK8.75. Now, it's also worth pointing out the obvious in the photo above that the tongue isn't a standard tongue. It has been made considerably wider than that of a retail pair, and with a thick layer of padding on the underside.
During his club career, RVP made a total of 593 appearances spanning across 4 different clubs, having 2 spells at Fayenoord. In those appearances he scored a total of 273 goals, with some absolutely mind boggling ones on that list.
Another cool modification on RVP's Preds is the toe boards. Each booth features a completely different one to the stiff plastic version found in retail models, Robin's pair instead feature a soft padded tan coloured material. The right boot also has an extra soft area which is where his big to would be when wearing them, so it's more than likely that he felt a need to have just that extra bit of stud pressure relief in that area.
During his career, Van Persie won 3x FA Community Shields, 1x Dutch Super Cup, 1x Fa Cup, 1x UEFA Cup, 1x Dutch League Cup, and of course 1x Premier League with Manchester United, a season in which he played a vital role in the clubs triumph. A player of his talent definitely deserved more trophies.
From the heel up to the toe board is a thick reinforced inner board for extra stability. This is a modification that is so common among pro's boots, the cheap materials of retail models in that area of boots can often make the boot slightly too unstable and flimsy for use on the world's elite stages. RVP also has a thick sponge heel liner added in this pair which will provide a pretty different fit in the heel with there being more lock down and comfort.
Did you know, in 2014 RVP became the only player since 1966 to score with his left foot, right foot, and head, as well as scoring from a free kick and a penalty kick in a World Cup.
Now here's for the most interesting, and let's face it, the best modification on this pair. The soleplate. Van Persie has always loved a TRX FG bladed soleplate, regardless of the model he would always find a way to have it. He sent the boot world bonkers when he walked out onto the pitch in a pair of F50 Adizero's which he had customised with the Adipower Sprint Frame. With the normal Predator LZ featuring the Sprint Frame with triangular studs, RVP decided he didn't fancy that and instead got the craftsmen inside Adidas' Germany factory to make his pair with a bladed sole. However, this bladed sole isn't even a top of the range soleplate, it is in fact from the take down model of the Predator, the "Absolion".
Now your'e definitely thinking "whaaaaat?!", and I'm with you on that. It looks what it is, a cheaper take down sole. Adidas have even been clever with the paint job with going to extreme lengths to match it to the standard sole so it at least looks on TV cameras as close to unmodified as possible. The angled transition in the centre of the soleplate from dark to light blue is spot on with the standard sole, and with the studs themselves being orange, it is hard to spot the difference from a distance.
The soleplate is the exact same mould as the Absolion plate, to the point where even the branding is the same. The "Predator" logo in the centre of the 4 rear studs isn't even in the correct font/lettering style for the Lethal Zones model, it actually matches the Predator X style logo which was released a few years prior to the LZ. But then again, no one was ever meant to see that part...
The midfoot area of the soleplate is actually too narrow for the upper material, so Adidas had to build in a small piece of black synthetic material to cover the gap.
Adidas have added a personal touch on this pair for RVP by adding the name of his son and squad number "Shaqueel 10" to the outstep area of the left boot, along with the Dutch national flag. The left boot bares the name of his daughter and squad number "Dina Layla 10", again with the Dutch flag. A truly one of a kind pair.