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The first Italian football club sponsored by Nike

It played in the Italian Third Division and changed the history of football shoes

The first Italian football club sponsored by Nike  It played in the Italian Third Division and changed the history of football shoes

A few weeks ago, Nike extended its partnership with Paris Saint-Germain until 2032, thus announcing the longest sponsorship contract with a football team. The statement by the two companies showed all the enthusiasm in sharing the same dreams and the same ambitions for the future of football, leaving it understood that sponsoring the team of the coolest city on the planet in the most popular sport in the world is already a good starting point for a love story.

Some time ago we told you about Nike's entrance into the world of football, with the first sponsorship in 1978 at the Portland Timbers and the European one four years later, realizing first the shoes for Ian Rush and his teammates and then the Sunderland AFC jerseys.

The first real Italian team to dress in Nike is the National team, in fact, the swoosh will produce the blue jerseys from 1995 until the 1998 World Cup, after which it will leave the place to Kappa. But what is the first Italian club to be sponsored by Nike? The US Brescello, a small club from the province of Reggio Emilia at the time in the third division, whose history is intertwined with the France 98 World Cup and with the goals of the best player of the times: Ronaldo "Il Fenomeno".

Residents little more than 5000, the US Brescello from 1993 to 1995 will be able to climb from the Sunday league to the Serie C, touching the promotion in Serie B and draw with the Juventus of Lippi, Zidane, Del Piero and Inzaghi in the round of 16 at the Italian Cup.

The closeness to the headquarters of Nike Italia - in those years in Reggio Emilia - in 1997 convinced the Beaverton brand that US Brescello was the perfect club to test the prototypes released by the Italian factory in Montebelluna (TV), and all the shoes that would have been launched at the World Cup the following summer, won by Zizou against Ronaldo.

Throughout the 96/97 season, Nike entrusted to Corrado Oldoni, Brescello's offensive midfielder, the task of testing the prototype of the first Mercurial Vapor R9, the model that probably changed the shoe paradigm also in football, after Nike had done the same in basketball with Jordan. For a season "Il codino della bassa", as Oldani was called for his resemblance to Baggio, tested the new Nike also writing a relationship with strengths and weaknesses of the new cleats at the end of each game.

A history of other times that tells a turning point in design and technology applied to sport, as well as the beginning of that approach that sees the athlete at the center of the production process, and not only as the last recipient.

The design and the colors - different from the black and white tested by Brescello players - went against all the trends of the time in terms of shoes. A thinner sole, extreme lightness and a soft coating used in racing motorcycles gave rise to a revolutionary product that would have laid the foundations for twenty years of innovation. From Serie C, the following year Nike began the support of big clubs like SSC Napoli, also creating an advertising campaign difficult to replicate.