As bad as Barcelona were on Tuesday night, there was one PSG midfielder who was every bit as responsible for Barcelona not showing up –Marco Verratti. Hounding, tackling, assisting, inspiring. Verratti was everywhere, leaving PUMA to rue a player that could be slipping through their fingers quicker than Barcelona dropping out of the Champions League.
Verratti had been a key player for PUMA since signing for the brand in 2011 and most recently fronted the evoTOUCH silo when it launched last year, but the hi-top boot was totally blacked out for the Paris pumping on Tuesday night. Verratti's contract with the brand seemingly expired at the turn of the year and he's now moved into a blacked out design while he contemplates his future. Usually a move as such would indicate the player is set to renew his (hopefully improved) contract with the brand, however Verratti has been quick to switch into a blacked out Nike Hypervenom 3 in training either side of the 4-0 defeat of Barcelona.
Of course, putting in such a performance in such a high profile game will put the power in the hands of the player should PUMA want to keep hold of their Italian star, but his decision to black out his evoTOUCH boots will put other brands on high alert – after all, the blackout treatment is nothing but a 'come get me' plea to potential suitors, or a 'raise your stake' for current endorsees. The switch into Hypervenom 3 suggests Verratti is simply trialling other options whilst a new deal is discussed. Nike are sure to be interested in securing the services of the PSG man, but the Hypervenom 3?
Nike are keen to make the Hypervenom 3 an exclusive club of ruthless goalscorers – you only have to look at the players wearing them to realise that. Lewandowski, Kane, Higuain, Verratti's PSG teammate Edinson Cavani, all players at the very top of the goalscoring charts each season. Verratti? If he is in Nike's plans the Swoosh are likely to tempt him towards the Magista silo. Verratti's in the driving seat, time to pick a lane.
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