Tag: FC Barcelona

Football’s back! Six unmissable storylines to look out for in 2017-18

At last, it’s back! The real football has returned! From now until late May of next year, it’s non-stop, full-on, unadulterated football and we at Icons.com could not be more excited.

After all, this season has the potential to be bigger, better and more exciting than ever. And not just in England. Let’s not forget the thrills that await around the continent; in Spain, Germany, Italy and France, where the best footballers on the planet do battle in front of the biggest crowds for the right to claim the world’s most coveted prizes.

In fact, with so much going on around the world on the opening weekend of the season, you could be forgiven for not knowing where to start or what to look out for. Well, it’s lucky we’re here then, isn’t it? Here are six things you need to keep an eye on this season.

 

1. Bem-vindo Neymar Jr

So, it actually happened. With Neymar Jr’s switch from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for €222million, world football’s transfer record has been broken by a factor of two. Our office stopped in its tracks to watch – perhaps a little out of disbelief – as the mercurial Brazilian forward was presented in front of the world’s media last week. With a glitzy unveiling in front of a sell-out crowd days later, the Parc de Princes has had more than a little Hollywood about it over the past month.

This season the 25-year-old will surely set his sights not only on a sweep of the domestic titles on offer at his new club but also a shot at one or both of the two individual honours that would certify his superstar status: the Ballon D’or and FIFA’s The Best Award. Will the football gods also write a mouthwatering script that reunites him with Barça in the UEFA Champions League? It may be time to start warming those balls…

 

2. The main event

Speaking of the UEFA Champions League, this season’s race for club football’s most sought-after prize promises to be as thrilling as ever. Real Madrid made history at the end of last season as they became the first team to successfully defend their title but Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo aren’t quite content with just two-in-a-row. The Spanish champions have won the famous tournament in three of the last four years and they’ve developed a taste for success.

Meanwhile, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are back, adding three previous winners and two of the competition’s most storied teams to the mix. Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho have a great knack of inspiring magic on European nights but can the trophy really return to the North West as early as this season?

Not if the rest of Europe has something to say about it. A certain aforementioned Brazilian seems dead-set on making his mark at PSG but to get to Kiev they may have to return to the scene of last season’s most remarkable tie: Camp Nou. All this while Carlo Ancelotti plots Bayern Munich’s return to the European throne and Gianluigi Buffon prays for one last shot at the trophy that has always eluded him.

As an official UEFA licensee, Icons.com is the proud home of official UEFA Champions League signed memorabilia.

 

3. A six-horse race

The Premier League is getting stronger in competitive terms, there’s no doubt about that. Almost all of the world’s best managers are taking charge of talented, hungry and exciting teams in England’s topflight and that means the title could go almost anywhere.

In Manchester, Pep Guardiola is building an attack-minded team at City with the signing of Monaco’s Bernardo Silva to add to Sergio Aguero’s goals, while United have a new hitman in the form of Romelu Lukaku. Liverpool are still a side of pure pace up front and should be an entertaining watch considering their attacking prowess.

Meanwhile, in London, Antonio Conte has one of the world’s most exciting attacking midfielders in Eden Hazard and Mauricio Pochettino will just be happy that both Harry Kane and Dele Alli (see below) have gone the summer without their heads being turned. Arch-rivals Arsenal have satisfied the wishes of their fans with the purchase of Alexandre Lacazette and the retention of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil (at the time of writing, anyway). So, who exactly is supposed to be the frontrunner here?

Find out who we fancy to come out on top in our special 2017-18 season predictions blog.

 

4. Dele’s big year

The breakout season is history, the sophomore slump was nowhere to be seen. Now the most exciting young talent at both Tottenham Hotspur and England can stretch his legs and really show us what he’s got. Gunning for a hat-trick of PFA Young Player of the Year awards – and perhaps the main gong too – Dele Alli faces a season of much promise.

Playing in front of potentially 90,000 fans at Spurs’ temporary home of Wembley Stadium won’t faze the England regular, nor will the prospect of a second season in the UEFA Champions League group stages. In fact, knowing the boy-wonder personally from our signing sessions, we’re not sure exactly what could faze him, if anything. Here is a confident 21-year-old who has the world at his feet. Which reminds us, isn’t there some sort of big international tournament coming soon?

We are immensely proud to have an official contract with Tottenham and England sensation Dele Alli. For exclusive signed products, visit Icons.com today.

 

5. All the world’s a stage

Ah, yes, the FIFA World Cup. Next summer sees the return of the biggest football tournament on the planet and with potentially one last chance at winning that most coveted trophy, the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will be desperate to deliver glory to their respective countries. Neymar Jr, Philippe Coutinho, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Dele Alli will be among the young but established stars hoping to capture the world’s attention and with the talent on offer it promises to be a tournament full of drama.

Whisper it but England look to be stronger than in recent years with Wayne Rooney surely determined to bow out of international football on a high alongside a stellar mix of young and experienced players mostly plying their trade in the Premier League.

Capture the spirit and excitement of the FIFA World Cup with officially-licensed FIFA World Cup signed memorabilia, exclusive to Icons.com.

 

6. La Liga’s on a knife-edge

Madridistas could be forgiven for still being a little hungover when their domestic season starts with a Supercopa Clasico on Sunday evening. Last season, Real won their first league title since 2012 and became the first team in history to retain the UEFA Champions League. Their supremacy is currently unquestioned but this season their hated rivals will want revenge.

Lionel Messi’s ultra dramatic, last-gasp winner in the sides’ pulsating encounter at the Bernabeu merely fanned the flames that could well spark all-out war this term. Barça haven’t experienced for years the upheaval they’ve suffered over the past few months with Neymar Jr gone and now a new man at the helm. Who knows how Ernesto Valverde plans to stop the Zidane juggernaut?

 

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, special offers and competitions.



The Icons.com 2017-18 Season Predictions

So, here we are again. When Leicester City travel to Arsenal on Friday night to open the 2017-18 Premier League season, it’ll be the first of 380 league matches that stretch over ten months and determine the fates of twenty topflight clubs. Win roughly 25 of your 38 matches and you’ll be in with a shout of the title; avoid losing more than 20 times and you should, in theory, stay up. It’s as simple as that, right?

Well, not quite. This is, after all, one of the most unforgiving leagues in all of world football. It’s a division in which the title defence of the two previous champions ended in finishes of 10th and 12th respectively. Where a team with five UEFA Champions League winners amongst its ranks could only muster a measly 13th place in 2016-17. And where a side who finished some 32 points shy of last season’s champions have spent nearly £100million on new recruits over the summer.

This is indeed a brutal league. But that’s exactly why it attracts the biggest audiences, a number of the biggest stars and most certainly the biggest names in management. For the likes of Mourinho, Conte, Pochettino, Klopp, Wenger and Guardiola, this weekend’s action offers the potential first step towards the ultimate glory. But to whom the trophy will go is anyone’s guess.

Giving it our best shot, we, the staff and partners of Icons.com, are back again to answer (or at least attempt to answer) the burning questions on everyone’s minds ahead of the big kick-off. But don’t just take our word, get involved on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages by giving us your predictions for the season ahead. You can hardly do much worse.

And, of course, be sure to check out our fantastic range of signed items from Premier League stars past and present – available right now on Icons.com.

It’s make or break time for Pep Guardiola in Manchester

Edward Freedman, Chairman

Premier League winners: Manchester City
Top four: Chelsea (2nd), Liverpool (3rd), Arsenal (4th)
Relegated: Huddersfield Town, Watford, Brighton & Hove Albion
Overachievers: Everton – The Toffees have spent big but have invested well this summer. Wayne Rooney‘s return brings valuable experience to a dressing room packed with new and exciting faces.
Underachievers: Arsenal – Last year I predicted that because the Gunners had spent nothing they would falter. This year, despite the purchase of Alexandre Lacazette, the same problems will persist. Wenger should have left years ago.
Golden Boot: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Signing of the season: Ederson (Manchester City) – The Brazilian youngster is an improvement on former keepers at the Etihad.

FA Cup winners: Chelsea
League Cup winners: Liverpool

UEFA Champions League winners: FC Barcelona
UEFA Europa League winners: AC Milan

Random prediction: Lionel Messi will become only the fifth player ever to have won five Pichichi trophies after he finishes the season as La Liga’s top scorer.

Dan Jamieson, CEO

Premier League winners: Manchester City
Top four: Liverpool (2nd), Chelsea (3rd), Manchester United (4th)
Relegated: Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford, Huddersfield Town
Overachievers: West Ham United – The Hammers have finally bought a striker with bags of Premier League experience.
Underachievers: Southampton – After years of gradual progress, decline will finally set in at St Mary’s.
Golden Boot: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Signing of the season: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – I always go for Liverpool‘s big money signing…

FA Cup winners: Chelsea
League Cup winners: Tottenham Hotspur

UEFA Champions League winners: Liverpool. Come on, we can all dream!
UEFA Europa League winners: Manchester United will retain the trophy after dropping out of the UEFA Champions League at the group stages.

Random prediction: Barcelona will improve despite the departure of Neymar Jr. They’ll wrestle the Spanish title back from Real Madrid.

Wayne Rooney has returned to Everton – could his experience bring success to Goodison?

Ben Soley, Sales and Marketing Manager

Premier League winners: Manchester United
Top four: Manchester City (2nd), Chelsea (3rd), Tottenham Hotspur (4th)
Relegated: Brighton & Hove Albion, Swansea City, Huddersfield Town
Overachievers: Chelsea – A paper thin squad coupled with the return of UEFA Champions League football should make life tough for the Blues but Eden Hazard will keep them winning.
Underachievers: Manchester City‘s backline – Pep’s back four will improve on last season but they’ll still leak plenty of goals.
Golden Boot: Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Signing of the season: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) – The Serbian will make a big difference for United but if Liverpool can sign a central defender the title is in the bag.

FA Cup winners: Liverpool
League Cup winners: Liverpool

UEFA Champions League winners: Paris Saint-Germain – Neymar Jr will take the Parisians that one step further they need this year.
UEFA Europa League winners: Villarreal – Though Arsenal will surely walk it if only they try.

Random predictions: Dele Alli‘s rise to superstardom continues, earning him a big money move at the end of the season for, let’s say, £200million. From March onwards, a number of players will feign and/or elongate injuries in order to be fresh for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. One of Nathan Redmond or Tom Davies sneaks onto England‘s plane for Russia.

Alistair Hunter, Senior Editor

Premier League winners: Manchester City
Top four: Manchester United (2nd), Arsenal (3rd), Chelsea (4th)
Relegated: Burnley, Huddersfield Town, Stoke City
Overachievers: Newcastle United – The Rafa Revolution rolls on. In fact, he even manages to take a handful of points from former employers Liverpool and Chelsea.
Underachievers: Stoke City – Mark Hughes wins the sack race feeling the absence of the brilliant Marko Arnautovic. The rest of the bottom half chews them up and spits them out.
Golden Boot: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Signing of the season: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City) – Manchester City fans will thank their lucky stars for that buy-back clause as the exciting young forward links up with Jamie Vardy to devastating effect.

FA Cup winners: West Ham United – Slaven Bilic’s side overcome Championship opposition in the Final.
League Cup winners: Cambridge Unit- ah, no, we’re out already. Okay, let’s go with Manchester City.

UEFA Champions League winners: Real Madrid – No-one thought back-to-back titles could be done. Why can’t they make it three-in-a-row with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale at the top of their game?
UEFA Europa League winners: Lyon – The French side weren’t too far off last season and this year the Final takes place in their own back yard.

Random prediction: A goalkeeper will get on the scoresheet at some stage this season. Liverpool sacrifice the topflight for a deep run in the UEFA Champions League as they reach the semi-finals. Cambridge United win automatic promotion from League Two.

Icons favourite Dele Alli: world football’s next £200million player?

Joe Turnbull, Editorial Intern

Premier League winners: Manchester City
Top four: Liverpool (2nd), Tottenham Hotspur (3rd), Manchester United (4th)
Relegated: Brighton & Hove Albion, Stoke City, Huddersfield Town
Overachievers: Newcastle United – Rafa Benitez is experienced at Premier League level. I wouldn’t bet against him taking the Toon into the top ten.
Underachievers: Chelsea – Friction between Antonio Conte and the board will be their downfall. New boy Alvaro Morata won’t click and injuries will deplete their squad, leaving the Stamford Bridge side languishing in sixth.
Golden Boot: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Signing of the season: Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) – Though he cost a lot of money, the Belgian brings guaranteed goals. Lukaku is a fantastic player who will step up to the plate and may even give Jose a long run in the UEFA Champions League.

FA Cup winners: Liverpool
League Cup winners: Tottenham Hotspur

UEFA Champions League winner: Bayern Munich
UEFA Europa League winner: AC Milan – After the summer the Rossoneri have had, it’s difficult to see past them. The English clubs will represent themselves well.

Random prediction: Neymar Jr carries Paris Saint-Germain all the way to the Final but they come up just short to Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Matt Sheppard, Editorial Intern

Premier League winners: Chelsea
Top four: Manchester City (2nd), Arsenal (3rd), Tottenham Hotspur (4th)
Relegated: Brighton & Hove Albion, Swansea City, Huddersfield Town
Overachievers: Newcastle United – Rafa will finally get to show exactly why he decided to stick by the Toon Army following their relegation the season before last.
Underachievers: West Ham United – There’s lots of hype around the Hammers’ big-name signings but most of them will prove well past their sell-by date.
Golden Boot: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
Signing of the season: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) – The Portuguese international will form a partnership with Kevin de Bruyne that turns into quite something.

FA Cup winners: Arsenal
League Cup winners: Manchester City

UEFA Champions League winner: Real Madrid
UEFA Europa League winner: AC Milan

Random prediction: Pep Guardiola will resign at the end of the season, following a failure to land the league or UEFA Champions League. Nathaniel Chalobah will be on that plane to Russia next year.

Italian giants AC Milan are well fancied for UEFA Europa League glory

Chris Jinks, A1 Sporting Memorabilia

Premier League winners: Arsenal
Top four: Chelsea (2nd), Manchester City (3rd), Liverpool (4th)
Relegated: Burnley, Swansea City, Huddersfield Town
Overachievers: Arsenal – Without the distraction of trying (and repeatedly hopelessly failing) to win the UEFA Champions League, the Gunners focus on domestic matters. Momentum stays with the team early in 2018 when they would usually falter.
Underachievers: Manchester United – Mourinho has made a number of big money signings but The Special One will be unable to get the team to gel. Without a trophy, Jose gets grumpier by the day.
Golden Boot: Alvaro Morata (Chelsea)
Signing of the season: Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) – In a time when we have £200million players, Wenger still finds a bargain in this free transfer.

FA Cup winners: Chelsea
League Cup winners: Tottenham Hotspur

UEFA Champions League winner: FC Barcelona
UEFA Europa League winner: Villarreal

Random prediction: Arsene Wenger will call it a day having finally won the league, bowing out on a high. (I’m going to keep predicting this each year until it’s true!)

Harm Jan Deuring, De Hand van Maradona

Premier League winners: Manchester City
Top four: Manchester United (2nd), Tottenham Hotspur (3rd), Arsenal (4th)
Relegated: Brighton & Hove Albion, Burnley, Watford
Overachievers: Huddersfield Town – The Terriers do what many believe to be impossible: they avoid relegation.
Underachievers: Chelsea – Morata for Diego Costa is a mistake while Eden Hazard will be sorely missed during the opening weeks of the season. Liverpool will also struggle under the weight of their busy schedule.
Golden Boot: Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) and Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) share the honour.
Signing of the season: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) – The Serbian is the missing link in Jose’s midfield. Tottenham‘s first signing of the season will be a close second – whoever it may be!

FA Cup winners: Arsenal
League Cup winners: Surprisingly, a side outside the top six!

UEFA Champions League winner: Real Madrid
UEFA Europa League winner: AS Monaco

Random prediction: Alexis Sanchez will stay at the Emirates but will have a disappointing season. No-one in the Manchester United squad will be banned for more games than Jose Mourinho himself.

Is this the year Arsene Wenger finally wins back the Premier League title?

Scott Hutchison, US Partner

Premier League winners: Manchester United
Top four: Manchester City (2nd), Chelsea (3rd), Arsenal (4th)
Relegated: Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town, West Bromwich Albion
Overachievers: Crystal Palace – Frank de Boer guides the Eagles to a nice finish alongside the big boys.
Underachievers: Tottenham Hotspur – The Wembley hoodoo comes for Spurs again.
Golden Boot: Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United)
Signing of the season: Javier Hernandez (West Ham United) – The Mexican is an absolute steal for what he’ll do on the pitch and pure highway robbery for what he’ll do for the club in the North American market.

FA Cup winners: Manchester City
League Cup winners: Everton

UEFA Champions League winner: Chelsea
UEFA Europa League winner: Celtic

Random prediction: My prediction that Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic would move to the Premier League didn’t come true in 2016-17 but he will crush it in Germany this season, becoming one of the darlings of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. That move to England will be a superstar signing come the summer of 2018.


So, that’s what we think will go down during this season’s Premier League campaign. But what do you think? Send us your predictions by getting in touch via our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages!

For our full range of Premier League signed products check out icons.com now!



Behind the Signing: Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo sign for Icons!

Here at Icons.com, we are very lucky to get to work with the world’s best footballers. It’s something we’re immensely proud of and at our most recent signing session we added two new names to our unbeatable roster. So, here’s what happened when we met the legendary Brazilian duo of Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo.

The summer is a busy time of year in the world of football. Though there’s little to no action on the pitch, clubs across the country and around the world are hard at work signing players for the season ahead. But, on Friday July 14th, in a plush hotel in central London, Icons.com captured the signatures of the two summer recruits to beat them all. We signed Brazilian legends Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo.

Known the world over for their style and flair on the pitch, this iconic pair were two of the world’s very best players during the 90s and 00s. Meeting the duo for the first time was an eye-opening experience as we shared time between their duties at the Star Sixes tournament – a meeting of some of the greatest names in world football.

It was an early start for us all but by 9am we were buzzing to meet two absolute legends. First up: Roberto Carlos.

The signing happened very quickly, as we got word the former Real Madrid full-back was ready for action. Instructed to nip up to the 11th floor and join him in his room, our team – well-versed in the art of a speedy signing session – got things underway. As self-confessed kit nerds, seeing all sorts of historic shirts, boots, balls and photos was a sight to behold. But seeing them personally signed by a FIFA World Cup and three-time UEFA Champions League winner made it all the more exciting.

During this time, we reflected on what a great player Roberto Carlos was; a truly unique defender who lit up the game. How much would the powerful defender cost in 2017, we wonder? A stalwart of Real Madrid, Carlos still holds Los Blancos‘ record for appearances made by a foreign player. No mean feat when you consider the Galaticos that have passed through that great club.

After a few quick pictures with Roberto we were out the door ready and raring for the arrival of Rivaldo.

As we got the lift down to the lobby, former Liverpool, West Ham and Portsmouth goalkeeper David James stepped in to greet us. The legendary England shot stopper had a quick chat with our team and we wished him luck for the tournament. Luck that didn’t quite catch, mind, as an England team even featuring Steven Gerrard couldn’t win the tournament on home soil. We make it 51 years of hurt now…

Of course, our team are no strangers to footballing superstars but a day up close and personal with this many legends of the game was still one to relish. Topping it off: FC Barcelona and AC Milan hero Rivaldo.

A true gentleman, the 1999 Ballon d’Or winner breezed through our signing session with every bit of the class he brought to the football pitch. Still as lean and fit as ever, the legendary attacker gave great care and attention to the products he was signing – fastidiously dotting his i’s and paying particular regard to ensuring he signed with the correct squad number. We signature buffs loved that!

Adding his beautiful autograph to a superb collection of items, it was time for Rivaldo to be whisked away to face China at the nearby O2 Arena. Three-nil or four-nil for Brazil, we asked. It wouldn’t be that easy, he replied quite diplomatically.

It was 7-0.

 

For our full range of Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos signed products check out Icons.com now!

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, special offers and competitions.



Why We Love Ronaldinho, The Smiley Samba Star

Let’s face it, everyone loves Ronaldinho.

The former Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona and AC Milan legend is one of our heroes here at Icons.com. The Brazilian embodied the samba style that defined a generation, while winning a UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup winner’s medal with that trademark grin on his face and a song in his boots.

Because it wasn’t just his outrageous skill and unstoppable flair that made him great. Oh no. It was the way he played the game as if still on the rough streets of Porto Alegre, dribbling the ball past his dog Bombom or scoring 23 goals for his local youth team. He made seasoned defenders in the prime of their distinguished careers look like schoolchildren. He baffled goalkeepers.

So, to celebrate the launch of our brand new and exclusive range of Ronaldinho signed items, we’ve compiled a short list of why it is we love him. Of course, there are innumerable reasons why football fans adore the man who for a period in the mid-noughties was the hero of every street footballer, but we’ll leave it to you to tell us what we’ve missed from our list…


He’s good at football in all its forms

Table football is a real thing and of course Ronaldinho is good at it.


He set up Leo Messi for the Argentine’s first ever goal

It shouldn’t have been legal for Barcelona to have these two on the same team.


He’s scored some pretty outrageous goals himself

The goal of a lifetime for most; just another standard, gravity-defying overhead kick for this man.


Some of them will stay with us forever

Even today’s stars struggle to re-create the Ronnie magic…


His control of the ball was absolute

This deserved more than simple applause, Frank. Come on.


No, seriously, footballs obeyed his every command

This is what Ronnie called ‘a warm up’.


He was pretty good from dead ball situations

Simply unstoppable.


But he still found joy in scoring the simplest of tap-ins

That poor, poor keeper.


He’s still got and will probably never lose it…

Hands up if you think a 37-year-old Ronnie could still do it for your team…


Shop from our full range of 100% authentic Ronaldinho signed items by visiting our dedicated R10 page…

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, chat and competitions.



Anatomy of An Icons Signing: Behind The Scenes With FOOTY.com

Untitled-1

Earlier this year we invited our friends from the football price comparison site FOOTY.com to come with us to a signing with one of the world’s best footballers. It just so happened that player was Barcelona‘s Argentinean superstar and global phenomenon Lionel Messi. From the FOOTY.com blog, here’s what Michael Lowdon thought of one our sessions with the world’s best…

As I drove down the A1 in torrential rain to FOOTY.com HQ, another wet day in the North East lay ahead. Or so I thought. By 10pm I was in Barcelona, enjoying a warm night, as the atmosphere of the UEFA Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid spilled out of the Nou Camp and onto the city’s streets. Our friends over at Icons.com had given us an invite to join them in the Catalan capital to get an insight into the workings of a player signing session. The player in question: Mr Lionel Messi.

Home of one of the best club sides in the history of the game, with arguably the greatest player to have kicked a football, the journey to the airport required regular pinching.

Being a frequent visitor to the Icons.com website, I was intrigued to see what goes on behind the scenes at a signing. After meeting Ali and Ben at Heathrow, the first task was to help with checking in of a number of packed suitcases, all of which were full to the brink with Messi memorabilia to be signed. From his latest adidas boot collection to a range of Barcelona and Argentina shirtsUEFA Champions League balls and glossy photo prints, the Icons team took a wide range of products ready for the Argentine’s penwork.

Once we had landed in Barcelona, the breathless Catalan commentary of the night’s match blared through the taxi’s radio, as we used our best broken Spanish to get the driver on our side. The hotel Icons put us up in was a stone’s throw away from the Camp Nou, meaning towards the end of journey the surrounding streets were filled with endless queues of mopeds, carrying relieved and joyous Cules late into the night. After more trolley pushing and the hotel bellboy’s help, we retired to the hotel bar, filled with the debate between fans. A quick night cap and a briefing for the next day’s signing rounded off a day which had started with a quiet, rainy morning in the office.

Untitled-1

FOOTY.com check out our signing photos – a key for authenticity

With signing day upon us, there was no time for a lie in and we were locked away in the hotel’s store room, preparing the cases and deciding what needed to be taken as a priority. It was the “less glamourous side of the signings” I was told, but as a Messi disciple and football merch geek I was like a pig in muck! Selections of football shirts and boots were asking to be jumped into and drooled over. Composed and professional, I managed to hide my excitement, just. As the deadline loomed, we met player liaison officer Jesus, Icons Founder Edward and CEO Dan outside of the Barcelona training ground and dissected Atleti’s defensive resilience, which would help them later progress to the semi final. Bumping into Pep’s superstar agent brother Pere Guardiola and a handful of other important figures, the team were escorted into the training centre to get the session underway.

Messi-Rooney

Messi is delighted to receive a shirt signed by fellow Icon Wayne Rooney

Having been signed to Icons for over a decade, making it one of his longest running commercial relationships, Messi knows what to expect when he’s faced with another Icons memorabilia signing session and he quickly got about his business. Icons exclusively produce the official Messi signed range as part of their license with the Argentine superstar. He breaks from the rhythm of signing to get his photo lifting a signed Wayne Rooney shirt that he’s received from the England captain, smiling with that grin we’ve come to recognise after more than 500 career goals.

The session draws to a close with Messi needed elsewhere – those five Ballon d’Ors won’t polish themselves you know. With yet another successful session in the bag, we retreat back to the hotel bar as the team celebrate. Messi is just one of a glittering list of current players which sign for Icons, including Neymar Jr, Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Aguero and many more. Not a bad forward line to have on your books! As the dust settles from the Messi signing, we relax with a meal in the shadow of La Sagrada Familia, unwinding as each Wolfsburg goal against Real Madrid raises a roar from the locals. We could get used to this!

Icons and FOOTY.com join the fans outside the Barcelona training ground

Icons and FOOTY.com join the fans outside the Barcelona training ground

It’s been a whirlwind 48 hours for FOOTY.com, but for Icons it’s simply another day at the office. They’ll do it all again before long, as they met Eric Cantona in Lisbon and Gareth Bale in Madrid before April comes to end. The team also reveal which players are on their radar to sign next, what affects their choice and whether the enigmatic Ronaldinho is within their grasp.

From logistically planned trolley runs to preparing products for smoother signings, it’s all in a day’s work, in the crazy job that is chasing footballers around the world. As FOOTY.com has come to realise, there’s a story behind every signing. We can’t thank Icons enough for inviting us along to their private signing session with the most in demand footballer on the planet. The care and effort they put into organising every aspect of the signing, from their planning, unrivalled authenticity they strive for and their relationships with players is something to be inspired by.

FOOTY.COM is the UK’s leading price comparison when it comes to everything football. We specialise in searching the web to bring you the best prices and biggest savings on products from boots to balls and everything in between. Shop with FOOTY.COM to pay less and play more!

Shop from our full range of official Lionel Messi signed items here.

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, chat and competitions.



How to buy a genuine Lionel Messi signed shirt: A guide to avoiding fakes & unofficial dealers

When searching through Ebay and around the web for a Lionel Messi signed shirt you will be presented with a wide range of items and sellers. Naturally, without the proper experience or research, there can be many potential pitfalls involved in buying signed football memorabilia. So, here are some handy tips to abide by…

The most obvious of which is to be sure of the authenticity of the item. Many sellers will tell you a player has genuinely signed their product. But how can you know for sure that you are not purchasing a fake or printed signature? The techniques used by fraudulent sellers can be very convincing and it is not always easy to identify a fake. So, when you buy a signed Lionel Messi shirt from Icons, we try to put your mind at ease by providing you with the following:

  • An Official Messi Signed Merchandise certificate – Icons is the only place you can buy officially licensed Lionel Messi signed memorabilia. All of our products are supplied with a hologrammed Certificate of Authenticity, which provides key information and shows a photo of Lionel Messi signing the item.
  • Photo proof – We are happy to provide a wide range of photos that clearly show Messi at a closed signing session arranged and conducted by Icons.
  • Video proof – Icons have a unique style of authentication video, which showcase both our products and our connection to the players who sign for us.
  • Signing date & location – We know exactly where and when our items were signed and we’re more than happy to disclose this information for the sake of authentication. All our items come from closed signing sessions, ensuring not only the authenticity but also the quality of each autograph.

When you are looking for Lionel Messi signed shirts online, you should use these points as a checklist from which to compare other sellers. If they can’t provide any of these things, ask yourself why not?

 

More information about Icons Shop Ltd

Icons Shop Ltd is the world’s leading football memorabilia company and Icons is the most trusted brand in the game. Authenticity is everything to us, as it is everything to our customers.

In 2014, Icons launched the first ever individually licensed memorabilia range: the Official Lionel Messi Signed Merchandise collection. We are the only company Lionel Messi and his management team trust to work with and the 2015-16 season marks the tenth year of Icons’ working-relationship with the Argentine superstar. In fact, we signed with him when he had just broken into the Barcelona first team, way back in 2006.

All Icons products come from private signing sessions in which the player is paid a fee for their service. We never, ever accost players outside the training grounds and we never, ever buy products from companies who do this. We deal directly with the players’ trusted representatives. Very often the players will donate the fees to either a charity of their choosing or a foundation to which they are directly associated. And because we have worked with the players and their agents for many years, they trust us and often personally recommend us to one another.

For all these reasons and more, you can rely on Icons as a trusted source for signed memorabilia, so if you’re looking for a Lionel Messi shirt that has been signed by the man himself, we suggest you look no further.

 

Click here to view all our officially licensed Lionel Messi signed memorabilia.

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, special offers and competitions.


Memorabilia signed by Messi



Why We Love Messi’s 300 La Liga Goals

FBL-ESP-LIGA-BARCELONA-SEVILLA

With the opening goal of FC Barcelona‘s 3-1 victory over Sporting Gijon on Wednesday evening, Lionel Messi became the first player in the history of La Liga to reach 300 league goals. So, to celebrate Messi’s landmark achievement, the staff of icons.com have picked their favourite of Messi’s now 301 goals in the Spanish topflight.

But, with over 300 efforts to choose from, it’s inevitable that we would leave out a number of amazing goals. So, let us know if we’ve left out your favourite goal by getting in touch on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And don’t forget, we have a wide range of official Lionel Messi signed memorabilia available to buy on icons.com right now. So check it out and grab yourself a wonderful item from one of the greatest players in football history.


Goal Number 1 (vs Albacete, May 1st, 2005)

This is where it all began. Lionel Messi‘s very first goal for Barcelona was a classic. Sent clear by Ronaldinho, a 17-year-old Leo steadies himself, sizes up the onrushing goalkeeper and cooly lobs it into the back of the net to get off the mark in La Liga. Everything is perfect here, from Ronaldinho’s awesome dinked pass to the fact it seals the points for Barca in the dying seconds of a typical Camp Nou victory. Simply historic. – Alistair Hunter


Goal Number 78 (vs Real Zaragoza, March 21st, 2010)

Similar to his Copa del Rey goal against Getafe, this solo effort is just incredible. It’s a goal that reminded me of Diego Maradona’s against England because Messi has the ball for so long and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much skill and control in an individual effort. It’s also great because he shows tremendous strength to win the ball in the first place and then the quickness in his feet to take past that first opponent is magical. Superb stuff. – Edward Freedman


Goal Number 158 (vs Getafe, April 10th, 2012)

Has there ever been a midfielder-striker partnership as good as Andres Iniesta and Lionel MessiI think this goal, with the quality of the one-two between Andres and Leo, shows off what was and still is an incredible duo. The neat interplay between the two is amazing to watch, but then there’s the power of Messi’s finish. This is a goal of real style and class. – Ben Soley


Goal Number 276 (vs Almeria, April 8th, 2015)

If you rush to him, Messi dribbles past you. If you stay put, the Argentine magician does this. Defensively, there is not much more Almeria could do. But Messi makes top level footballers look like amateurs on a weekly basis. The nonchalance with which he impossibly bends the ball around well-placed defenders is something only one player on Earth could do. With a phenomenon like Messi you can’t really win. That’s why Messi is Messi and the rest just trail in his wake. – Jack O’Neill


Which of Messi’s La Liga goals is your favourite? Let us know by checking out this incredible video of all of his 301 La Liga goals.

Shop from our full range of official Lionel Messi signed items here.

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, chat and competitions.


Memorabilia signed by Messi



WIN a Nike boot signed by Cristiano Ronaldo Or Neymar Jr!

Signed-Boot-Giveaway

It’s competition time! To celebrate the birthdays of global football superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr on Friday February 5th, Icons are giving you the chance to win a signed boot from one of these two awesome players.

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning this incredible prize is to head over to our Facebook page and give us a like or follow us on Twitter and keep an eye out for our posts and tweets relating to the competition. You’ll need to like or retweet one of those related posts as well as like or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be in the draw for a boot. When the draw closes on Friday February 12th at 12pm GMT, we’ll be picking one lucky winner from both Facebook and Twitter.

Good luck!

iccrb13-cristiano-ronaldo-signed-nike-pink-boot_1_1icnjsb2-neymar-jr-signed-nike-hypervenom-white-boot

Terms & Conditions
1) The promoter of this competition is Icons Shop Ltd, whose registered office is at Highgate Business Centre, 33 Greenwood Place, London, NW5 1LB, UK. 2) Employees of Icons Shop Ltd, their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition. 3) There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition. 4) Closing date for entry will be Friday February 12th at 12pm GMT. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted. 5) No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received after the closing date for whatever reason. 6) The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter. 7) The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition. 8) No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice. 9) Winners will be chosen at random from all entries received and verified by Icons Shop Ltd and or its agents. 10) Winners will receive one signed boot from a player of their choice between Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr. 11) Entry to this competition constitutes either one of the following; the entrant must “like” the official Facebook page of the promoter and “like” one or more “post” relating to the competition on Facebook or; “follow” the official Twitter page of the promoter and “retweet” one or more “tweet” relating to the competition on Twitter. 12) The winner will be notified via the social media channel from which they entered the competition within 28 days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within three days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner. 13) The promoter will notify the winner of how the prize can be collected. 14) The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. 15) By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions. 16) The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England. 17) The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent. 18) Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions. 19) This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network.

Memorabilia signed by Neymar