Jose Mourinho is irate. No, not because Mesut Ozil decided to juggle his chewing gum. He’s mad because Real Madrid won’t be able to play with the Safari soccer ball since Cristiano Ronaldo’s new limited edition Nike Mercurial Vapor VI Safari cleats also have a Safari themed pattern on them.
This weekend La Liga is having a save the African Safari campaign, where all the teams will play one match with the Safari ball. But Real Madrid, due to the pattern of Cristiano’s soccer shoes and the ball, may have to play with a regular soccer ball instead.
The La Liga referees deemed the shoes and the ball too much of a match, and might confuse opposing players when Cristiano touched the ball. They said, ‘in many ways it’s for the safety of Cristiano Ronaldo, since defenders might think they’re tackling or winning the ball and Cristiano’s feet and the Safari themed boots might get in the way. It was just not worth the risk of a serious injury to Ronaldo.’
Cristiano has claimed that this is ridiculous, and would not fear any additional tackles. Opposing teams however disagreed, saying he dives way too much as it is and this would just give him another reason to dive or fake an injury. Real Madrid have stood by Ronaldo and said that he can go ahead and wear the soccer shoes that have been so eagerly awaited.
SafariGate, as it has been called by Marca.com, and the final outcome, whether to cancel the whole campaign, let Ronaldo play with the shoes anyway, or alter the ball just enough so it doesn’t match the Nike Safari shoes, will be decided this Friday, right before the Real Madrid match. Some have suggested using bright neon dots on the soccer ball. There will be a press conference after officials from each team weigh in on the controversy.
Mouinho feels like the pattern on the shoe is much different than the soccer ball. The Special One had this to say:
What with the Spanish league having just finished up the breast cancer awareness campaign, they are now planning on having a theme or campaign each week to raise money for various charities. The Discovery channel have backed the Safari themed ball, and proceeds from the sales of all Safari soccer balls will go to saving a Safari park in South Africa. The Discovery channel will donate $50,000 towards the Safari for each goal scored in La Liga.
Cristiano weighed in with this final statement.
This should have been posted closer to April 1st, but it’s all in good fun and just nonsense, as Mourinho said.
Do you want a Safari soccer ball? You can get one over at World Soccer Shop for just $15.99.
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