In Wright Thompson’s insightful ESPN profile of Lionel Messi, we find out a few interesting things about the enigmatic Argentine. One of the most revealing could be that his family still owns his childhood home in Rosario, Argentina – although no one lives there. Leo won’t let them sell it.
When he was 13, FC Barcelona offered to pay the medical bills for his growth hormone deficiency, a diagnosis he received at age 11 that threatened to derail his dream of professional soccer. His game would grow (as well as his height) and he would ultimately be shaped by his experiences overseas in Spain, not in Rosario. This formed an unorthodox relationship between Messi and his hometown. Thompson’s piece describes Rosario as a city ambivalent to the fact that the greatest footballer of our time spent his childhood roaming its streets. He still goes back there sometimes, to that empty childhood home. And now his latest adidas boot is a tribute to the city where he discovered his love for the game.
It’s called the Messi 10.1, with adidas dropping the usual Messi F50 name. However, the tech remains the same on this release. You’ve still got the Hybridtouch upper, combining benefits of synthetic and leather into one upper. Messi’s personalized “M” logo still sits in the center of the heel. The outsole still has that SprintFrame construction.
The colors are Power Teal and Solar Orange, which mesh well to create a dynamic-looking boot. The graphic design on the upper gives off the impression of tightly-lined streets and back alleys, with the teal sections perhaps representing the Rio Paraná, which runs east of Rosario. It’s an aesthetic that rejects the typical color scheme of so many soccer cleats, while still providing meaning through its strange design.
In 2006, Diego Maradona famously said, “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentinian football and his name is Messi”. That sounds like the words of a man who has had a near-religious experience, like Maradona had gone into a kind of spiritual trance and come out proclaiming the Gospel of Messi. After watching in amazement as he breaks records, wins titles, and further makes a case as the greatest ever, it is fascinating to see his latest shoes point back to where he started.