PUMA Launch New Neymar Jr Boot & Apparel Collection

Neymar has some delightful new boots out
Neymar has some delightful new boots out

PUMA Football has announced its first ever collection with new signing Neymar Jr, featuring a brand new set of boots as well as an apparel range.

The global football star has linked up with the German sportswear giant after bringing an end to a 15-year association with Nike.

Very, very slick.
Very, very slick.

Upon signing the largest individual sponsorship contract in sport, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has released a new range consisting of some gorgeous PUMA King Platinum boots, a full tracksuit, t-shirt and hoodie – all featuring his signature NJR logo.

A PUMA statement read: “Sports company PUMA has created the Neymar Jr. collection featuring the Neymar Jr. PUMA KING and apparel range for its newest football ambassador Neymar Jr.

“The iconic PUMA KING Platinum in black and white is the star of the PUMA x Neymar Jr. collection, with the signature NJR logo, which is integrated into the classic PUMA Formstrip. The boot is engineered with the latest in performance technology to provide enhanced touch and control benefits, made for the ultimate playmaker.

“The super-soft, premium K-Leather upper is enhanced with 3-D ‘touch’ texture for added control. The locked-in fit is refined with a snug knitted tongue and the ultra-modern slim silhouette, combined with the super lightweight ‘RAPIDSPRINT’ outsole, makes it the fastest and lightest PUMA KING ever.

The NJR range is available in PUMA stores
The NJR range is available in PUMA stores

“The apparel collection features the Neymar Jr. 2.0 logo tee, Neymar Jr. 2.0 track jacket and the Neymar Jr. 2.0 track pant, all in adult sizes. The junior collection consists of the Neymar Jr. 2.0 logo tee, Neymar Jr. 2.0 hoody and the Neymar Jr. 2.0 track pant.”

Boots engineered with the latest in performance technology to provide enhanced touch and control benefits will be on show for all to see in PSG’s upcoming Ligue 1 and Champions League clashes, and became available from earlier in October at puma.com, PUMA stores and select retailers worldwide.


Leicester’s Wesley Fofana Tipped to Be ‘One of the Best Defenders in the World’

Wesley Fofana
Fofana made his Leicester debut in the defeat to Aston Villa | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Wesley Fofana’s former boss, Claude Puel, has insisted that the defender can become one of the world’s finest defenders after sealing a summer move to Leicester.

Brendan Rodgers had been on the hunt for new defensive acquisitions all summer, with bids for James Tarkowski failing to match the sky-high demands of Burnley.

At only 19 years old, the £32m the Foxes forked out to bring the centre-back to the King Power Stadium from Saint-Etienne raised a few eyebrows. Nevertheless, Puel revealed he has no doubts over Fofana’s talents.

“In a year, Wesley would have cost much more, because big clubs had scheduled his breakthrough for that time,” he told the Leicester Mercury. “He can become one of the best defenders in the world.”

Making his debut in the most recent round of fixtures, Fofana impressed against Villa despite his side falling to a late 1-0 home defeat, and Rodgers has backed up Puel’s claims by stating he’s set for a bright future.

“He’s a very streetwise player,” Rodgers said. “You can see his personality. He’s mature for a 19-year-old guy. As well, the senior players we have, Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans, are brilliant for our young centre-halves like Cags and now Wesley. I’m looking forward to seeing him blossom over the next few years.”

Wesley Fofana
Fofana cost an eye-watering £32m | Michael Regan/Getty Images

Fofana is set for an extended spell in the senior side in the coming weeks, with the Foxes being beset with a string of injuries to key players. Caglar Soyuncu has been ruled out for three months, while central midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, who has helped out in central defence, looks set to miss the entire season.

Filip Benkovic left the club on loan having failed to meet expectations, while Daniel Amartey is also sidelined with a hamstring injury, leaving just Fofana, Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans fit.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!


Gabriel Batistuta: The Romeo to Florence’s Juliet in the Real Italian Love Story

Batistuta was a goal machine during the 1990s
Batistuta was a goal machine during the 1990s | Tal Gilad/Minute Media

While William Shakespeare chose the city of Verona as the backdrop to his most famous romantic (and tragic) play, the city of Florence bore witness to the most gut-wrenching breakup the world has ever experienced.

The opening scene takes place in 1991, when a young, long-haired heartthrob enters stage left, starry-eyed and ready to take Italy by storm. Gabriel Batistuta arrived in Firenze from Argentina, having enjoyed an impressive solitary season in the historic blue and yellow jersey, helping the Xeneizes claim the league title and finishing as the division’s top scorer.

Fiorentina knew they had unearthed a hidden gem, but glory was not guaranteed. In his early twenties, there was more curiosity than expectation surrounding this cheeky punt in the transfer market, especially given Serie A’s reputation for boasting the meanest defences in European football.

This relationship was a ‘love at first sight’ kind of thing, though. Batistuta hit the ground running, scoring 13 goals in his maiden campaign, with a less than adequate squad surrounding him. But their lack of quality did not dim his own bright performances. His first three goals for la Viola told us all we needed to know about the Angel Gabriel.

His first was an opportunistic, close range finish, smelling a half chance and acting on his instincts, as a deflected free-kick deviated perfectly into his onrushing sprint. The second demonstrated his lethal ability with his head, racing to the front post and meeting an in-swinging corner with expert timing and venom. And the third – well, would you be surprised to learn that he dispatched a clinical volley, struck with the passion and might that only Batistuta himself could harness? Thought not.

His array of ruthless, surgical finishes, combined with his ability to strike any ball towards goal from any position on the pitch quickly transformed him into one of the most eagerly anticipated players in Italy.

Unfortunately, it was not all plain sailing – as with any good love story.

Batistuta and Fiorentina hit a major bump in the road together in only his second season, when the famous club was relegated to Serie B – despite their forward’s 16 goals. Perhaps Batigol questioned if he deserved better in this relationship, or whether the time had come to prematurely wave goodbye to those who had embraced him with such affection.

If he did, he didn’t act on that gut-feeling – that would come later. For now, he was committed to becoming a Viola legend, and set about returning them to the rightful place among Serie A’s seven sisters.

Another 16 goals in the second tier saw Fiorentina regain their top-flight status after a short 12-month absence, and with the building blocks in place to grow as one, the couple flourished in each other’s company.

He immediately announced his return by scoring in each of the first 11 matches of the campaign, hitting 13 in a record-breaking spell. Cremonese felt the true force of Batistuta’s devastating talent in the third game of the season, when he acrobatically assaulted a cross into the far corner with brutal accuracy and ballistic trajectory.

It was a goal that could arguably be the pinnacle of most striker’s portfolio, but for our main man, it was simply a run of the mill, routine finish.

Claudio Ranieri’s side consolidated their place as a mid-table team, but their prolific striker confirmed his birthright as the King of Firenze. He hit 26 goals in the 1994/95 campaign – a career best in Serie A – ending the season as the division’s capocannoniere.

Now wearing the captain’s armband, this love affair had reached its peak. Fiorentina had stumbled upon a marriage-material partner, and he was equally as head over heels with his second home. Combined, the duo believed they could take over the whole of Italy, and then, the world.

Fiorentina celebrate
Mobbed | Phil Cole/Getty Images

In the end, love conquers all.

His relentless consistency and brilliance was unheard of at Italy’s top level, and he would hit double figures in every season while wearing the iconic purple jersey. Batistuta had reached a deific status, as the Angel Gabriel Omar became the patron saint of Firenze.

Not very heavenly however, was his trademark celebration. The Argentine regularly unfurled an air-machine gun upon inflicting the fatal wound, spraying imaginary bullets with glee over the pain he had inspired.

A beautiful angel with a machine gun. Just your regular hero.

Batistuta managed to write his name into the history books as one of the greatest Serie A stars of all-time over the next half-decade, hitting 21 goals twice and 23 between the years 1997 and 2000. He was so highly respected in Italy that the entire nation waited with bated breath whenever Fiorentina met Inter, where the world’s two greatest strikers would collide.

Comparisons with the legendary Ronaldo tell their own story.

Batistuta gave the world a glimpse of just what he could do on the European stage with la VIola, hammering a blistering dagger through Arsenal’s hearts from an impossible angle, before then shocking the great Manchester United.

Fiorentina stunned the Red Devils in Italy, beating the English giants 2-0, with Batigol striking the first blow of the evening. But it was on English turf where his destructive right boot really cemented its place in European folklore.

The visitors took the lead through their talisman, who silenced the home crowd with a thunderbolt from all of 35 yards. The ball swerved, dipped, whistled and exploded as it hit the net, and the luscious long locks, held in place by a suave purple headband bounced in delight. It was a goal for the ages.

“A speed of light strike,” as coined by Clive Tyldsley. In the blink of an eye, it’s game over.

Back on home turf, Fiorentina hunted the elusive scudetto that they and their lover so desperately craved, but the missing piece in the jigsaw would forever evade them. A Coppa Italia success in 1996 did soften the blow, but it wasn’t enough. This time, love did not conquer all. It could not compete with ambition.

Francesco Totti, Gabriel Batistuta
Two glorious men | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

In 2000, Batistuta stunned his other half by asking to split, and he joined AS Roma in search of a league title. A strange decision, given I Giallorossi hadn’t won the league since 1983. But 12 months and 20 goals later, it would make a whole lot more sense.

This relationship did hold a final, heartbreaking twist. In real Shakespearean style, Batistuta scored against Fiorentina in his first encounter with his ex, blasting a 30-yard volley home in the last ten minutes to win the game. Visibly shaken by the emotion of the occasion, the Argentine broke down in tears on the pitch. He saluted his former supporters at the final whistle, who showed him the same love and loyalty as they had when he wore their famous armband.

There was an acceptance over the breakup. Sure, it hurt, and melting down his statue outside the stadium did feel a tad rash. But time is the greatest of healers, and Fiorentina can look back at their decade-long, 151 Serie A goal romance and say, ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’

Gabriele Batistuta of Fiorentina
Batigol | Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Legends are few and far between, and Florence may never feel love-struck quite like they did when they laid eyes on their charming, stunning and loyal companion for the first time – the greatest player in their history.

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.”

There’s only one Batigol.


Champions League: Picking a Combined XI From Teams in Group E

Kai Havertz, Jesus Navas
Chelsea and Sevilla played out a 0-0 draw on Tuesday | Pool/Getty Images

Chelsea avoided the likes of PSG and Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stage draw, but found themselves grouped with a dangerous Sevilla side from Pot One, as well as Rennes and Krasnodar.

Frank Lampard’s men had an opportunity to assert their dominance on the group early on when they welcomed Sevilla to Stamford Bridge in their first group game on Tuesday, but were made to battle it out for a point. Indeed, it was a reminder – in case they needed it – that they will be pushed all the way in Group E and will need to produce more convincing displays if they are to safely progress.

Rennes were unfortunate not to pick up all three points on Tuesday as well, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Krasnodar. The hosts dominated proceedings and while they weren’t able to secure the win, they proved that they will also be a threat in Group E.

With all teams sat on one point after the opening round of fixtures in this competitive group, we at 90min have come up with a combined XI from the teams in the group…

Edouard Mendy
Mendy kept a clean sheet against Sevilla | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Edouard Mendy – Chelsea (GK) – It just had to be that Mendy would be drawn in the same group as his former club, didn’t it? The Chelsea shot-stopper made a couple of decent saves on his return to the side against Sevilla on Tuesday, keeping the score at 0-0. Looks a smart piece of business for the Blues, but Lampard will be hopeful he can stay clear of any injuries. Just look at what happened against Southampton in his absence…

Jesus Navas – Sevilla (RB) – Seriously, how is Jesus Navas 34? The Spaniard, who edges out Reece James for the right back position, is continuing to perform at the highest level and remains a key figure in this Sevilla side. Starting every game so far this campaign, Navas provides the width down the right and already has two assists to his name in 2020/21.

Jules Kounde – Sevilla (CB) – Currently unavailable for selection after testing positive for the coronavirus, Kounde could make his return when his side host Rennes next Wednesday. Still only 21, Kounde plays with real maturity and composure, with his displays helping Julen Lopetegui’s men to Europa League glory last term. It was hardly a surprise to see him linked with a number of top clubs during the summer.

Thiago Silva – Chelsea (CB) – Has he been perfect since his move to Chelsea? No, not exactly. But putting his odd mistake or two to the side, he has brought some much-needed composure and leadership to the Blues’ backline. Experience is key in any team, and that is no different in this lineup either, so Silva takes up his place in the heart of the defence.

Ben Chilwell – Chelsea (LB) – Chilwell has settled in quickly at Chelsea since making the move from Leicester. There are still some question marks over his defensive positioning and awareness when out of possession, but nonetheless the England international has made a bright start to life in west London.

Eduardo Camavinga
Camavinga is an exceptional talent | Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

N’Golo Kante – Chelsea (CM) – There are few players in world football who have the ability to read the game as well as Kante. Constantly looking to sniff out danger, Kante works tirelessly in the centre of the park to ensure his opponents are unable to assert any control.

Eduardo Camavinga – Rennes (CM) – 17-year-old Camavinga has a very bright future ahead of him. Not only is he already a key figure in the heart of this Rennes side, Camavinga also now has three caps at senior level for France. He’s that good.

Kai Havertz – Chelsea (CAM) – Havertz has shown flashes of real brilliance since his big money move to Chelsea, but the German is still finding his feet somewhat in west London. Sure, his stats make for pleasant reading for an attacking midfielder – four goals and two assists in seven games so far – but Havertz will now be looking to deliver on a more consistent basis as the weeks go by.

Timo Werner
Chelsea fans are yet to really see the best of Werner on a regular basis | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Hakim Ziyech (FW) – Look, we could have selected Christian Pulisic here, but Ziyech is not only simply ridiculously talented, but he also has experience of dominating on the Champions League stage. While he is yet to really show exactly what he can bring to this Chelsea team, Ziyech is now back and will be desperate to hit the ground running once he is eased into the starting lineup.

Timo Werner – Chelsea (FW) – Werner finally got off the mark in the Premier League against Southampton with a well-taken brace, but was unable to back this up against Sevilla on Tuesday. Has looked bright at points, but has often found himself out in wide positions – which is where he is much less dangerous and unable to really pose a threat in front of goal. But Werner possesses outstanding quality and it will surely only be a matter of time before he begins to prove his worth on a regular basis.

Lucas Ocampos – Sevilla (FW) – It’s taken Ocampos a while to find the right home for him to play his best football, but he has found that at Sevilla. The Argentine finished the 2019/20 season with 17 goals and five assists, but only has one goal to his name so far this term. More generally, Ocampos has become a vital member of this Sevilla side, producing the necessary quality when on the ball as well as acting as the first line of the press when out of possession.

For more from Adam Aladay, follow him on Twitter!


Footballers Who Pulled Off the Shaved Head Look Best – Ranked

Ronaldo went short of late | FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Remember the days when you were a wee nipper getting ready to have your haircut the following day? You’d spend hours trawling the internet searching endlessly through your favourite footballers to find the exact trim to suit you.

Even if the player in question was ten years older than you, far better looking and had an entirely different cheekbone structure and head shape, you’d still pick out the one you liked best, get your dad to print it off then pop into the barbers ready to look like prime David Beckham.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is now set to make the shaved-head look a barbershop favourite once again, after debuting his fresh trim on social media.

While it’s a look that will launch a million copycats, it’s not particularly original – having been modelled by many before him in the world of football.

Who pulled it off the razor look, though? A few did, a few didn’t. Here’s ten of the best – ranked.

When you’re a good looking Iberian man with fine flowing locks, keep them that way.

Granted, Hec did it during lockdown as a bit of a laugh, but some people are simply better off leaving the trimmers in that draw in the house that is full of batteries and half-used notebooks.

Ross Barkley
Ok. | Paul Thomas/Getty Images

It’s the kind of look you go for when you’re coming towards the end of your career, not when you’re the tender age of 20.

He didn’t have to chop it all off, but for some reason Barkley was hell-bent on copying his EastEnders idol.

Neymar JR.
Not the first time he’s done it | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

It was apparently Dani Alves who was behind Neymar getting his head shaved (for the first time) back in 2015, and when you compare it to his other dodgier trims, it’s not terrible.

Better than the pink, at least.

Roy Keane
Of course Keane did it | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

It’s not like Keane sat down with Fergie over a glass of Bordeaux and discussed how he could make himself more aerodynamic in midfield.

He did it to look menacing and, to be fair, it did work. Although it wasn’t overly needed in the first place…

Jack Wilshere
It wasn’t terrible. | Clive Rose/Getty Images

Wilshere’s choice of announcing his comeback was to go short with his haircut. Being as short as he is, he could get away with a variety of different trims, this one probably being the best of the lot.

It was an ‘I’m ready’ type announcement. However, it was a short-lived return to first team football in the end.

It took us all by surprise | GEOFF CADDICK/Getty Images

Was Silva’s looked bad or was it more of a shock factor that led to everyone’s perception of the trim? It’s hard to tell given it was such a surprise to see him lob all his lovely locks off in favour of a very non-Spanish look.

His reasons for it were to make it easier for the doctors to perform a hair transplant. He pulled it off pretty well…until it started to grow back and just looked odd.

Italian forward Alessandro Del Piero eye
Del Piero could have got away with anything, in fairness | PATRICK HERTZOG/Getty Images

When you’re so damned good at football and boasting an air of Italian elegance about you, it really makes little difference what haircut you have.

Del Piero also enjoyed some special moments when he bid farewell to long hair, y’know, like winning the World Cup.

Southampton v Liverpool - Capital One Cup Quarter Final
Scary. | Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

Did he look good? No.

Did it suit him? Yes.

No player has ever had a haircut that suited their playing style quite as well as Skrtel. He’d walk alone down a dark alley, that’s for sure.

When he finally grew it out, it just looked unsettling.

David Beckham
The man could do no wrong. | Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

A man who boasted every haircut under the sun even beyond his playing career, anything other than the cornrows was a bonus.

We might be a tad biased on this considering that moment against Greece was done with a clean shaven scalp, but it’s one of England’s fondest memories of Beckham.

Spot on, no? | AFP/Getty Images

You know you’ve got a look that sticks that when you try and grow your hair out it just looks wrong? Valdes’ time at Middlesbrough was short but his hair wasn’t and it didn’t sit right.

The streamlined look with a bit of nine o’clock shadow and big bushy black eyebrows just worked.