The World’s Best Player… in any Language11th September 2009
In my opinion the words ‘global brand’ are overused in modern day football and are often taken out of context of what the ‘beautiful game’ stands for. However, as a designer with a growing interest in Arabic typography it was refreshing to see Real Madrid’s recent issue of language specific player shirts.
I’ve no doubt that Ronaldo’s worldwide marketability as well as his footballing talent was a major reason behind Real Madrid’s willingness to pay Manchester United £80 million for football’s most prized asset. With Ronaldo shirts tipped to outsell even that of David Beckham during his time at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid have decided to offer Japanese, Chinese and Arab fans Ronaldo shirts in their own language.
The part of me that thinks a centre forward should still only wear a jersey that displays the number nine and not even the player’s name says this is an over-the-top way of making more money, but the western graphic designer part of me only sees the characters and letterforms as intriguing and great to look at (although I believe the Arabic one reads ‘Cristiano’ and not ‘Ronaldo’). I just hope the trend doesn’t make it on to the pitch at next year’s World Cup or poor old John Motson will be lost for words!