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July 12, 2010

Cursed or not, Nike's major World Cup stars wrote a lousy future

By Noreen O'Leary on Mon Jul 12 2010

So, now that the World Cup is over, let's flashback to the beginning, when we were all mesmerized by Nike's awesome "Write the Future" ad from Wieden + Kennedy. The three-minute creative epoch, which canonized some of soccer's biggest names, explored the fine line between footballer glory and failure. So, on which side of that line did these highly paid guys land? Mostly failure. After England crashed out against Germany, lethargic striker Wayne Rooney didn't retreat to a dingy caravan; he flew to his $7.5 million seaside mansion in Barbados. Far from the debonair, tuxedo-clad Ping Pong player who trounces Roger Federer in the commercial, he's just been voted the ugliest footballer on the planet. As for Portugal's reigning stud, Cristiano Ronaldo, he's had to settle for a mini-me rather than a towering statue in the center of Lisbon after his side was defeated by Spain. Ronaldo, who's been exploring his feminine side through tweets about his new son born of a surrogate mother, has also been spotted poolside in New York with dainty, lacquered toenails. Italy's Fabio Cannavaro returned home to a barrage of rotten vegetables, not TV-show serenades, after the previous World Cup holders couldn't even advance out of the group stage. Ditto for Franck Ribéry, whom Nike used to taunt Rooney as a replacement ad pin-up in the spot, after France's shambolic performance caused them to also exit at the group stage. As for Brazil's Ronaldinho, he never even got to South Africa, let alone inspire a craze for "Samba-robics" modeled after his own victory dance. In the view of some observers, Nike's roster of superstars are so incapable of writing their own future, they're firmly in the grip of a brand curse.

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