Why did Vinicius Junior make his Nike boots all-black for Real Madrid match? Sponsorship showdown, explained

Vinicius Junior blackout boots 16:9Getty/GOAL
  • Breaking away from Nike
  • No brand visible on boots vs Valencia
  • Brazilian scores in second half

WHAT HAPPENED? While he usually steals headlines for outstanding goals or moments of magic on the grandest stage of them all, this time it was Vinicius Junior's footwear that caught the eye of spectators. The Brazilian took to the pitch in a rather classic looking, all-black pair of boots - an unexpected choice.

Then, in the second half, he changed back into Nike apparel. It's unclear whether that was planned or if he was told to do so. He didn't comment immediately after the match.

WHY DID VINICIUS JUNIOR WEAR BLACKOUT BOOTS? He turned away from the colourful version of the Nike Mercurial Vapor he usually wears, concealing any hint of Nike affiliation. The Athletic confirmed that he has broken his contract with the company amid a feud, wanting out due to him feeling a recent extension doesn't reflect his rising status.

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AND WHAT'S MORE: Vinicius Junior first signed with Nike aged 13 and has been an ambassador for the brand for 10 years, renewing for another decade in 2018. However, with his contract not including a termination clause, lawyers worked through December to end his agreement, while he was spotted wearing older, outdated models of his favoured boots of late.

A source close to the player told The Athletic: "We are in no hurry to sign with another brand. The key for us is to find the right company that appreciates and believes in Vini and is willing to invest in his brand through campaigns and activation worldwide."


Vinicius Junior Real Madrid Villarreal 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR VINICIUS JUNIOR? The 22-year-old is on the open market for what will surely be an extremely lucrative deal with another brand. And he's not the only one to send not-so-subtle-shots at Nike, as he's taken a page from Jonathan David's book with his approach on Thursday.