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Tell me how you wear socks and I'll tell you what player you are

From Sivori's uncovered shank to Henry's covered knee, through Nainggolan's holey socks and Suarez's Trusox

Tell me how you wear socks and I'll tell you what player you are From Sivori's uncovered shank to Henry's covered knee, through Nainggolan's holey socks and Suarez's Trusox

Every footballer who goes on the pitch has his own ritual that accompanies him: there are those who isolate themselves thanks to headphones, those who have to telephone their mothers and those who, like Cassano at Real Madrid, have to satisfy their desires. It is said that the Brazilians manage to take the field only thanks to a Samba-based heating. These gestures are now the only freedoms of expression - eccentric shoes excluded - in a football that is becoming more and more homologated.

The uniforms, however flashy they may have become - either for whimsical designs, or for colors that no longer have anything to do with the original social colors - leave no room for the player's creativity. In addition, from next season even the fonts of name and number will be standardized, as already happens in Premier. More recently, some captains - Papu Gomez most of all - had tried to express their originality through the personalized captain's armbands, but the League has standardized those too.

One of the elements that represented a distinctive feature of some players were the socks and the style with which they were seen on the various soccer fields; by 1996 the ''Del Piero laces'' had become iconic, shoe laces that the Juventus number 10 used to tie the top of the socks so that they did not fall on the shin guard, without thinking that he would launch a fashion: all children who grew up in the second half of the 90s therefore began to deprive themselves of the shoelaces while having tied them to the socks, just like "Pinturicchio".

There are players who still manage to express their creativity by wearing socks in an original way; based on how a footballer wears socks, you can guess his style of play: Henry, Neymar, Lautaro Martinez, for example, wear them high above the knee, probably to appear more elegant and to affirm the status of ''heavy players'', as was Titì Henry and how Neymar is today.

The so-called "mastiffs", on the other hand, can be recognized by the holes on the back of the socks: Nainggolan and Walker justify themselves by saying that by doing this they help the calf to breathe and avoid cramps. These are players who leave the soul on the field, chasing anyone who comes within range. They are probably strong in the evening too, a thesis strengthened by the direct relationship between alcohol, cramps and skeletal muscles - and even more so by Radja's videos and the latest scandal involving Walker -.

In recent years, a new way of wearing socks has been added: thanks to the appearance of the Trusox - socks that increase adherence to the shoe through non-slip rubbers that cover the entire sole of the foot - the players, especially of the Premier League, they had to find a way to be able to wear these socks without having logo problems, therefore wearing Trusox under the socks cut at the ankle and worn as if they were tubular bands. These players, in addition to having an accentuated technical sensitivity, are the ones who show the most imaginative solutions on the pitch.

The most prestigious category is instead that of those who wear the lowered sock, just to cover a tiny shin guard that is usually positioned as low as possible, almost on the ankle. In Serie A there are famous examples which, not surprisingly, also represent two of the elements with the most quality of our championship, these are Paulo Dybala and Lorenzo Insigne.

Dybala recently claimed to use the socks in this way for a matter of comfort, saying that so the knee has more freedom of movement but also declaring that Sivori, from whom ''La Joya'' took inspiration, carried them in that way . The list of players who wore lowered socks is very long and full of names that have made the history of this sport: Sivori, Meroni, Graziani, Serena, Berti, Baggio, Rui Costa, Totti. What do these players have in common, besides being football icons? The class, the undisputed technical value and the ability to keep the ball glued to the foot. In an interview with the official Inter website, Nicola Berti explains why he kept his socks low: "I didn't wear shin pads, they weren't mandatory. The fact is that Serena did not use them at Inter, who, like me, wore socks lowered and rolled up. But I did it for a specific reason: I wanted to show that I was brave, I wanted to challenge everyone''. Sivori, on the other hand, said that keeping the shin uncovered, even the greatest slaughterer would have had some uncertainty in hitting and he had more chances to slip between the opposing defenses.

Nothing has changed with the obligation to use shinguards. Whether it's because you want to intimidate your opponent, or because you want to be less protected, the more technical players will always play with their socks down. Maybe to show the last tattoo on the calf - the crowned ball of Dybala - but above all to instigate the hitting defenders and to remind everyone that real football is what is played in the "barrios" and there the tibias are uncovered.