Updated: Jun 6
Released date - 1998
Source: SoccerBible, 21 March 2014. Mercurial Mk1 - The Original R9. Retrieved October 24th, 2022, from https://www.soccerbible.com/performance/football-boots/2013/05/nike-mercurial-r9-1998-the-original/
They're the most identifiable football boots in history that come with a narrative to match. The Nike Mercurial R9 set the standard for lightweight football boot design, providing a new direction of innovation for the football boot industry.
The Mercurial R9 was introduced in 1998, back when all boots were black and leather. Launched by Nike’s for their headline sponsored player, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (R9), at the 1998 World Cup in France where he adorned his very own colourway of the original Nike Mercurial.
The original Ronaldo
Expectations were high for Ronaldo and the rest of the Seleção as they entered the 1998 World Cup tournament as defending champions. They lived up to those expectations for a long time, but in the final, France proved too much. The game ended 3-0 and there is still much mystery surrounding Ronaldo’s fitness. Despite being obviously unwell, he started the game and still managed to score four goals during the tournament. He also picked up back-to-back World Player of the Year awards. The boots he wore changed the boot industry forever.
For the '98 World Cup, Nike created a signature boot for Ronaldo that was unlike any other. The Mercurial R9 was visually and technologically advanced and revolutionized football boots. Ronaldo’s status as El Fenomeno was propelled to new levels thanks to the Mercurial R9. Many consider Ronaldo to be one of the first real marketing superstars in the game.
Ronaldo and the Nike Mercurial R9 left a legacy on the game that can be seen on every pitch in every game worldwide today. Since the 1998 World Cup, lightweight boots have been constantly in demand with football boot manufacturers pushing the boundaries on weight reduction and high-end visuals. But it all started with the Nike Mercurial R9.
Known as the holy grail of the Nike collection, finding an original, unused pair of these will not only be hard to locate but expect to pay a very high price. There are many variants of remake of these and each one will be sought after for collection and likely to keep rising in price. Grab a piece of history and whatever you do, don’t wear them!
Notes: The older they get, the less sustainable the boots can be…look out for peel or any signs of wear as it will be detrimental to the value and desirability. Obviously if you find them with the original packaging accessories then all the better.
Take a look at Nike's advert for the 1998 world cup here:
Source: SoccerBible. (2013, May 16). Nike Mercurial R9 1998 - The Original. SoccerBible. https://www.soccerbible.com/performance/football-boots/2013/05/nike-mercurial-r9-1998-the-original/