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FOOTBALL

Adidas expecting football sales of €1.5 billion in 2010

German sportswear and equipment group Adidas said Monday that it expected record 2010 football-related sales thanks to the World Cup in South Africa.

Adidas expecting football sales of €1.5 billion in 2010
Photo: DPA

The company forecast sales of at least €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) from balls, jerseys, boots and other items, revising a previous estimate of more than €1.3 billion upwards.

Adidas sponsors 12 of the 32 World Cup teams, including Argentina, France, Germany and Spain in addition to hosts South Africa.

“The jerseys are doing much better than expected,” Adidas boss Herbert Hainer told a press conference at the group’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Bavaria.

More than one million Argentinian, German, Mexican and South African jerseys have been sold already, he said. During the 2006 World Cup, it sold three million jerseys, and Adidas sees six of its teams making it past the first round of competition, which will wind up this week.

The group also manufactures the controversial Jabulani football being used in the competition, of which it has forecast sales of 13 million. Markus Baumann, who oversees football activities at Adidas, said the Jabulani ball was the best selling item so far.

In addition to balls and jerseys, of which Adidas expects to deliver 6.5 million, the company is banking on brisk sales of boots.

Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi is under contract, while US rival Nike has signed deals with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and England’s Wayne Rooney.

Teams are only bound to wear the sponsor’s official uniform, with each player allowed to choose his own boots.

Drawing on its experience with the 2006 World Cup, Adidas has geared up to deliver more jerseys of teams that make it to the next round unexpectedly.

Paraguay is one example, while Hainer said that France, which might be eliminated this week, did not give “a very positive image,” with scenes of angry confrontations being streamed around the world.

Adidas and its US rival Nike both claim the top spot among makers of kit related to football, one of the most-played sports worldwide.

Nike sponsors Brazil, Portugal, the United States and with its Umbro brand, Britain, among its total of 10.

Puma, the German group that is number three among World Cup team sponsors, has Italy and four African clubs under its colours, among its total of seven.

Adidas also makes the referees uniforms.

For the group as a whole, full-year forecasts now look fairly conservative, especially since Hainer noted that other areas were also performing well. For now, Adidas expects sales to gain five to six percent from last year’s level of €10.4 billion.

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FOOTBALL

Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.

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