Nike Mercurial: Ali Saleh on the genius of Cristiano Ronaldo, his career highlights and the boots which make him always forward

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Always forward. Always fast. It’s a sharp tagline from Nike, but it’s one which perfectly illustrates what the Mercurial boot range is all about – the need for speed.

There is a science to fast, and the Mercurial university dishes out PHDs in the subject, consistently educating the market with some of the most technologically-advanced boots we’ve ever seen.

Over the last two decades, Mercurial has taken on an identity like no other, becoming synonymous as the boot for skillful and rapid players, a key tool to producing show-stopping moments.

If you’re fast, you’re Mercurial, it’s a simple as that. From R9 to CR7, the best in the world trust Mercurial’s expertise and that is no different for some of the leading lights in UAE football.


Through the eyes of NOW and NEXT Nike athletes, we discover what it means to be Mercurial and much more. Al Wasl’s precocious UAE international Ali Saleh represents the future and is among the names donning the new Mercurial Superfly 7 for the 2019/20 Arabian Gulf League campaign.








Designed for quickness, the lightweight materials and secure fit of the Mercurial Superfly 7 deliver the traction needed to leave opponents in the dust.


The Flyknit construction wraps the foot for a second-skin fit, while you can count on a reliable touch in wet and dry conditions with the angular studs built for explosive acceleration.


In the video above, the Mercurial university graduate reveals his thoughts on the boots, talks about his own career and what he likes most about his Nike hero.



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Vincent Kompany ‘the proudest man in the world’ after Man City testimonial

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Vincent Kompany hailed a perfect evening despite being forced to miss his own testimonial through injury.

A crowd of 51,602 turned up at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to say farewell to the former Manchester City captain, who left the Premier League champions at the end of last season.

They were denied the chance of seeing the inspirational defender in action for one last time due to yet another injury, however – a frustration the man himself knows only too well.

The 33-year-old won 10 major honours in 11 years at the club but he was dogged by muscular problems throughout the second half of his City career.

“It’s typical me,” he said of the hamstring injury before the game, but that did not stop him enjoying the friendly between a City side featuring a host of star names from throughout his career and a Premier League All Stars XI.

“I’m the proudest man in the world,” said the Belgian, who also gave game time to his brother Francois and a number of players from Anderlecht, where he is now player-manager.

“It’s been a special day. It’s been a perfect evening even though I didn’t play. I couldn’t have wished for more.”

The priority for Kompany was raising funds for his homelessness charity Tackle4MCR, which aims to eradicate rough sleeping in Manchester. It is an issue that has been close to his heart throughout his stay in the city he now considers home.

“The key thing is to raise as much funding as we can and use it to help the people who are helping those living on the streets,” he said.

The game itself finished 2-2 with City scoring in the first and last minutes through Martin Petrov and Benjani Mwaruwari.

The Premier League side struck through Robbie Keane and Robin Van Persie, one of a number of former Manchester United players to feature. Others included Gary Neville – who left the field injured – Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick.

Kompany said: “We are specifically dealing with homelessness in Greater Manchester. You can’t have a successful project without Manchester United involved. We have our differences – that is clear – but if we can get together for these sort of events the city is stronger.”

City’s tributes to their former captain included the naming of a road at their training complex ‘Kompany Crescent’ and the unveiling of a mosaic of him in action. It was also announced a sculpture was being commissioned.

Kompany began the day by holding a press conference to preview the match. Naturally, his thoughts on the City team he has left behind were sought.

Kompany’s departure left City with one fewer specialist central defender, and a lack of cover could be exposed in the coming months with Aymeric Laporte out injured. Kompany, however, is confident Pep Guardiola’s side will cope.

He said: “By losing Laporte you lose a big player. You need big players in the bigger games but the key strength of this Manchester City team is relying more on the system than the individuals.

“I don’t see City weakening. Pep is way to aware of this danger to let it happen.”

He also revealed that he believes Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk is the best defender to have played in the Premier League.

Kompany said: “I go back to players that really impressed me when I played against them. I would bring it back to Virgil Van Dijk.

“From what I have seen on having an impact on a team – and being a defender is never about yourself, it’s how you make your team more solid – Liverpool before Van Dijk and after him, it is a completely different set-up.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Barcelona v Valencia and RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich among top fixtures this weekend

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Club football returns in the top European leagues after a series of entertaining games in the 2020 Euro qualifiers and friendlies during the international break.

Top teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Tottenham, who have endured disappointing starts to the season, will look to correct their course and build momentum across the next few games.

With the Champions League also kicking off next week, most teams face selection dilemmas amid injuries and fatigue concerns. We help you prioritise your football this weekend by listing the best match-ups from each of the top-five leagues.

BUNDESLIGA

Bayern

Fixture: RB Leipzig v Bayern Munich

Venue: Red Bull Arena

Date: September 14, Saturday

Time: 8:30pm GST

The top teams in the Bundesliga will battle it out in what promises to be an electrifying encounter at the Red Bull Arena. Leipzig have won all three of their games so far, scoring nine goals and conceding just two. The visitors started with a 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin but followed up with massive wins over Schalke and Mainz.

The Red Bull-owned side have not flown in this fixture historically, winning just once in the last five encounters at home across all competitions. But the team that cruised past Union Berlin, Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach could provide a twist to these stats and bag all three points on Saturday.

There is no firm favourite for this one but Robert Lewandowski and Timo Werner will be eager to change it right from the word go.

LA LIGA

AntoineGriezmannBarcelona (1)

Fixture: Barcelona v Valencia

Venue: Camp Nou

Date: September 14, Saturday

Time: 11:00pm GST

Big teams with similar fortunes face off in a mid-table clash in Spain as defending champions Barca host the Copa Del Rey champions at the Camp Nou. Both teams have won, drawn and lost one game each this season and a win on Saturday could go a long way to building momentum after a poor start.

Only once in the last 12 games across all competitions has either team tasted a two-goal victory or higher, showing that we are in for a mouth-watering clash on Saturday. The Catalans have won three of the last five encounters at home and are likely to make it four as Valencia take the pitch for the first time after firing coach Marcelino.

Lionel Messi is likely to sit out of the fixture as he attempts to gain full match-fitness before the tantalising Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. Antoine Griezmann will hence spearhead Barcelona’s attack yet again ahead of the challenging task of grabbing all three points.

PREMIER LEAGUE

Marcus Rashford

Fixture: Manchester United v Leicester City

Venue: Old Trafford

Date: September 14, Saturday

Time: 6:00pm GST

Manchester United host a top-four side in Saturday’s early kick-off game in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men picked up from where they left off domestically last season and have won just one of the four games in 2019/20. The Foxes are unbeaten and sit third with eight points from their four games.

Despite the negativity surrounding the club, Untied should remain positive, given they have dominated Leicester consistently over the past few years. Their last defeat against the 2015/16 Premier League champions came in September 2014 when the Foxes emerged 5-3 victors in a thrilling contest at the King Power Stadium.

The past results point at a United victory but Jamie Vardy and James Maddison could tilt the tie in favour of the visitors.

LIGUE 1

Monaco

Fixture: Monaco v Marseille

Venue: Stade Louis II

Date: September 15, Sunday

Time: 11:00pm GST

Monaco are inching closer to being considered a top French club only based on reputation and history and not their football. Having barely survived relegation last term, Monaco have begun the new season with a four-game winless streak. A win against Marseille could change the mood in the camp and provide them with the motivation to move on with their rebuilding phase.

Marseille did not win any of their first two games but turned the tide around with narrow wins over Nice and Saint Etienne. However, Andre Villas-Boas’ team are not outright favourites in this tie since they have won just once in the last six attempts at the Stade Louis II.

Monaco have made some promising signings and star man Wissam Ben Yedder will need to step up as they look to snatch their first win of the season. The visitors will look at Dimitri Payet to extend their winning run.

SERIE A

zapata

Fixture: Genoa v Atalanta

Venue: Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris

Date: September 15, Sunday

Time: 2:30pm GST

Genoa hosting Atalanta has been chosen as our Serie A fixture of the week based on the sheer number of goals the games involving these teams have produced this season. Nine were scored in the two games Genoa featured in and Atalanta have played out two thrilling five-goal encounters.

Genoa opened their Serie A campaign with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Roma before edging Fiorentina 2-1 at home. Atalanta were on the right side of a 3-2 win against SPAL but lost to Torino by the same scoreline.

The hosts could not cope with the departure of Krzysztof Piatek last season but have started well this term, having scored five goals in two games. Duvan Zapata has already taken off at Atalanta, scoring twice in their defeat to Torino.

Will the visitors prioritise their Champions League fixture as they travel to Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday, and restrain themselves from giving 100 per cent? Or will they go for the three points against Genoa? This could be an interesting tie.

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