Tag: Spain

We Predict… The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™

‘Like Christmas for football fans’. This year, that oft-used description of the FIFA World Cup is as apt as it’s ever likely to get as, for the first time in its glittering history, we head for a winter tournament in the desert dunes of Qatar.

It will surely feel a little strange to have the world’s biggest and most iconic football competition take place in November and December. But a FIFA World Cup is a FIFA World Cup. You won’t catch any of us complaining when the month-long festival of football finally gets underway.

Especially because there’s simply too much to look ahead to. This may very well be one of the last FIFA World Cup appearances for the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. But certainly not the last for Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Jr, Pedri, Phil Foden and other mercurial young talents.

Indeed, Qatar will play host to a heady mix of superstars all chasing the same thing – the ultimate glory some might say – the prize every footballer wants to win. For some, their legacy may depend on winning it. For others, the chance to lace up for a FIFA World Cup is a prize itself worth savouring.

But who’ll take the top honours? And who’s about to breakout on the biggest stage? Well, that’s where our staff come in… sort of. Here are our predictions…

But first! You’ll want to check out our incredible collection of official FIFA World Cup memorabilia comprising signed and unsigned items from stars past and present – available right now on Icons.com.

Argentina are well-fancied with their talisman’s name on many people’s lips

Dan Jamieson, CEO

Winners: I think ARGENTINA have a good mix of youth and veteran talent, tournament-winning experience at the most recent Copa America, and a certain Mr Messi to pull the strings while others doing the running.
Runner-up: Can you imagine the hype before a Ronaldo v Messi final? Though I think its actually PORTUGAL‘s supporting cast who will take centre stage as the tournament goes on.
Surprise Package: With Luis Suarez and Darwin Nunez up top, URUGUAY guarantee action, controversy and no defender knowing what the hell is coming next.
Surprise Early Exit: SPAIN find themselves in a tough group and lack the goals to get them out of sticky situations.

Golden Ball: I’ve got Argentina as my favourites and I think lots of games could come down to penalties. With that in mind, I’m going with EMI MARTINEZ who, don’t forget, won the Golden Glove at the Copa America.
Young Player of the Tournament: Remember the name: Argentina’s ENZO FERNANDEZ. He’ll be coming to a Premier League team soon…
Golden Boot: Strangely both overrated and underrated, we are big fans of JOAO FELIX at Icons and hope he can emerge from CR7’s shadow.
Golden Glove: See above: EMI MARTINEZ.

England will… do as their ranking suggests. We’re fifth in the world so we’ll give it all we’ve got and come close to winning a quarter-final, taking the lead but losing on penalties.

Bold prediction: Penalties will decide many of the most crucial matches as teams conserve energy, keep men behind the ball and take their chances in the lottery that is the shootout.

Brazil are the bookmakers’ favourites led by a stellar cast of attacking talent

Ben Soley, Head of Sales

Winners: As well as a typically star-studded strikeforce featuring Neymar Jr, Vinicius Jnr, Richarlison and Raphinha, this BRAZIL team also has a strong (albeit ageing) defence and midfield spine.
Runner-up: BELGIUM’s next generation is already coming through (I’m looking at you Charles de Ketelaere), and I’m backing the old guard of Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku to make the final.
Surprise Package: SERBIA have a sturdy keeper in Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and mainstay midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (no relation) but it’s their front-line which is really noteworthy. Dusan Vlahovic and Aleksandar Mitrovic are amongst the most feared goal scorers in their respective leagues.
Surprise Early Exit: Four of the last five defending champions haven’t got past the group stages. The holders never do well. It seems wild to suggest, but FRANCE will sorely miss Paul Pogba and N’golo Kante, heading home before the end of the quarter-finals.

Golden Ball: LIONEL MESSI is in great form and it’s his last FIFA World Cup tournament – surely the stage is set for a fairytale goodbye?
Young Player of the Tournament: PEDRI. This kid is the real deal. I saw him live recently and he blew my mind.
Golden Boot: MEMPHIS DEPAY does not have the easiest of groups but I expect the Netherlands’ record-scorer to play at least four games and take penalties.
Golden Glove: EDOUARD MENDY.

England will… go out in the quarter-finals in return to form for FIFA’s fifth-best ranked team.

Bold prediction(s): A meagre three goals will be scored across both semi-finals, as the long season and high stakes force teams to play it safe. Penalties will decide at least one of those semi-finals. Mitrovic will get more goals than cards when he plays. Achraf Hakimi will score a Goal of the Tournament-worthy screamer.

As defending world champions, close attention will be paid to Kylian Mbappe’s France

Mike Davis, Financial Director

Winners: ARGENTINA. I think the Messi Factor will be too strong for the rest of the field to counter.
Runner-up: Messi will face Cristiano Ronaldo and PORTUGAL in a superstar final.
Surprise Package: URUGUAY will cause a stir.
Surprise Early Exit: I think FRANCE’s individuals will fail to click in defence of their title.

Golden Ball: BRUNO GUIMARAES
Young Player of the Tournament: AURELIEN TCHOUAMENI
Golden Boot: LIONEL MESSI
Golden Glove: ALISSON BECKER

England will… fail to inspire and exit at the quarter-final stage.

Bold prediction: Germany will fail to qualify from their group.

Few teams possess a midfield talent like Kevin De Bruyne – could Belgium be dark horses?

Alistair Hunter, Senior Editor

Winners: Never before has a FIFA World Cup been played at this time of year, throwing a lot of the usual prep work to the wall. Given the unusual build-up and the fact we’re due an underdog winner, I’m going with BELGIUM.
Runner-up: You’ll struggle to find a bigger Lionel Messi fan than I so it will be difficult for me when ARGENTINA come one shy again.
Surprise Package: I believe… I believe that… I believe the USMNT will go on a superb run to the quarter-finals – just in time to inspire a new generation of fans ahead of their hosting duties at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Surprise Early Exit: FRANCE are the world champions at doing exceptionally well at one FIFA World Cup then crashing out amid scandal and controversy at the next. Plus ça change.

Golden Ball: Competition officials won’t be able to resist the chance to hand LIONEL MESSI another award. Anything for a photo with the great one.
Young Player of the Tournament: FC Barcelona midfielder PEDRI is primed to take the next step into superstardom.
Golden Boot: Given the scoring opportunities England’s group present, HARRY KANE must have the best shot (pun fully intended).
Golden Glove: There’s no better name – nor better fairytale story – than that of REMKO PASVEER. Is it possible to be a rising star at 39-years-old?

England will… advance through to the latter stages of this tournament in miraculous fashion. A semi-final loss to Belgium will be reminiscent of their deep run at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Bold prediction(s): A VAR-related scandal will suspend a knockout game for long enough that the players temporarily leave for the dressing rooms while officials frantically try to resolve the situation. In search of a dramatic late equaliser, a goalkeeper will hit the post.

Boasting a plethora of young talent, Spain are likely to be contenders for the world title

David Cox, Head of Operations

Winners: SPAIN have an all-round solid team with a plethora of up-and-coming stars. Look out for Gavi at this tournament!
Runner-up: Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema will lead FRANCE to a second consecutive final.
Surprise Package: DENMARK always seem to show up when it comes to tournament football.
Surprise Early Exit: Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent interview will have an effect across the whole of PORTUGAL‘s camp.

Golden Ball: I may be slightly biased but no-one can pass a ball like KEVIN DE BRUYNE.
Young Player of the Tournament: GAVI is going to be one of the world’s best.
Golden Boot: KARIM BENZEMA. Unplayable on his day.
Golden Glove: Ederson won’t be first choice (who knows why?!) so best go for Brazil’s second choice, ALISSON BECKER.

England will… reach the quarter-finals and crumble. 

Bold prediction: More than one bicycle kick will be scored at the tournament.

No FIFA World Cup can be complete without Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo

Jamie White, Digital Content Producer

Winners: I think this FIFA World Cup is catered for a South American winner. For me, BRAZIL have the strongest squad and have the best chance in the hot conditions.
Runner-up: I just did a tournament predictor and my second favourite, Argentina, will meet Brazil in the semi-finals while on the other side of the draw I fancy PORTUGAL to make the final.
Surprise Package: SENEGAL. I fancy an African team to become the tournament’s surprise package.
Surprise Early Exit: SPAIN or GERMANY have a tough group with Japan – I feel like there could be a surprise casualty there!

Golden Ball: After our recent signing session with LIONEL MESSI, word has it he is fully focused on the FIFA World Cup and with his form going into Qatar I fancy him to have a great tournament.
Young Player of the Tournament: I think JUDE BELLINGHAM will be a stand-out player for England, or if Germany do well, I fancy Jamal Musiala to shine as one of the competition’s best players.
Golden Boot: LIONEL MESSI, closely followed by Darwin Nunez or Vinicius Jr.
Golden Glove: ALISSON BECKER is the best keeper in the world in the best team at the tournament.

England will… go out in the quarter-finals. The Three Lions will beat Iran comfortably in the opening game, then make difficult work of both the USA and Wales in the groups.

Bold prediction: Japan to knock out a heavy-hitter in Spain or Germany.

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez is one of many icons likely playing in their last FIFA World Cup

Ryan Butterworth, Head of Video Content

Winners: ARGENTINA‘s form over the last few years has been great. With their team and, of course, Lionel Messi, I think they will just edge the tournament.
Runner-up: I think we will see a PORTUGAL vs Argentina final – the battle of the GOATs! It’s a match made in heaven and could be the final decider between two greats. Portugal look very strong all over the pitch. 
Surprise Package: URUGUAY are a solid team across the pitch. I think they have been underestimated and may shock the world.
Surprise Early Exit: FRANCE. I think the FIFA World Cup curse will be back. We have seen it previously and, in most tournaments, a big team falls early.

Golden Ball: BERNARDO SILVA
Young Player of the Tournament: VINICIUS JR
Golden Boot: DARWIN NUNEZ
Golden Glove: EMI MARTINEZ

England will… make it to the quarter finals. I think we will give it everything but fall just short with a 1-0 or 2-1 defeat.

Bold prediction: Japan shock the competition and top their group!

Argentina goalkeeper Emi Martinez is among the frontrunners for FIFA’s Golden Glove award

Dan Rushton, Customer Support

Winners: ARGENTINA haven’t been beaten in 35 games and I can’t see any team at these FIFA World Cup finals that can break that streak. Lionel Messi is going to lead his nation to their third world title.
Runner-up: Holders FRANCE are still more than capable of winning it with the likes of Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele but may fall at the final hurdle.
Surprise Package: MOROCCO have one of the best right-backs in the world in Achraf Hakimi and if Hakim Ziyech is in form they could be the team to watch.
Surprise Early Exit: It’s bold but I’m thinking GERMANY. They have a tough group! 

Golden Ball: I just have a feeling that LIONEL MESSI going to smash it this year. His club form is improving, which will only benefit Argentina.  
Young Player of the Tournament: I can’t name a better young midfielder at the tournament than JUDE BELLINGHAM. This is a massive year for Jude and I think he’ll carry on impressing on the biggest stage.
Golden Boot: KARIM BENZEMA will bag plenty of goals in the group stage and early knockout stages.
Golden Glove: I think Portugal will have a tough time defensively and I think DIOGO COSTA will be called upon a lot – he will have to make some huge saves.

England will… be passionate… but the football will be bland. They’ll get to the quarter-finals and get knocked out by stronger opposition. 

Bold prediction: Cristiano Ronaldo will be hungry for success – he’ll be back. 

England star Jude Bellingham is expected to catch the eye for Gareth Southgate’s men

Will Franklin, Sales Executive

Winners: I see ARGENTINA winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Lionel Messi will lift the trophy to complete a phenomenal career. 
Runner-up: The final will be an all-South American affair with Argentina coming out on top of BRAZIL
Surprise Package: I believe SWITZERLAND will have another great tournament. 
Surprise Early Exit: 2014 winners GERMANY will struggle at this year’s tournament.

Golden Ball: LIONEL MESSI
Young Player of the Tournament: JUDE BELLINGHAM
Golden Boot: KYLIAN MBAPPE
Golden Glove: Aston Villa’s number one, EMILIANO MARTINEZ

England will… have a solid tournament, hopefully. That said, I can’t help but think we’ll be too defensive in the big games.

Bold prediction: Spain have a great young squad – I think they’ll reach the semi-finals.

Doha’s Lusail Stadium will play host to a highly-anticipated final on December 18th

Dan Hunt, Accounts Assistant

Winners: I think ARGENTINA will win. They haven’t lost a game for three years and Messi will triumph at the final FIFA World Cup he plays in.
Runner-up: If PORTUGAL win their group I think they will lose in the final.
Surprise Package: URUGUAY have a good squad and have a chance to go a long way in this tournament – maybe even win it.
Surprise Early Exit: FRANCE have been struggling recently in the UEFA Nations League so their FIFA World Cup curse may continue.

Golden Ball: LIONEL MESSI
Young Player of the Tournament: PEDRI
Golden Boot: LIONEL MESSI
Golden Glove: EMI MARTINEZ

England will… bottle it, as usual, and lose in the quarter-finals.

Bold prediction: Japan will eliminate either Spain or Germany in their group.



Spain Legend Cesc Fabregas Signs for Icons.com!

We are thrilled to announce the latest iconic name to sign memorabilia for Icons.com: former Arsenal, FC Barcelona and Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas!

The private signing session took place in Barcelona on Wednesday July 6th where Fabregas added his autograph to a vast array of stunning new items including shirts, boots, photos, balls and much more.

The midfield maestro was an important part of the Arsenal, FC Barcelona and Chelsea engine rooms between the years of 2003 and 2019.

His honours include but are in no way limited to the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Spain, along with two UEFA EURO wins in 2008 and 2012. Club honours include the FA Cup with Arsenal, two Premier League medals with Chelsea and the La Liga title with FC Barcelona, making him one of the most coveted players both on the domestic and international stage. 

Fabregas signed Spain, Arsenal, FC Barcelona and Chelsea shirts will be available to buy not only in sleek Icons.com presentation options but also in our official and exclusive FC Barcelona, UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup memorabilia collections.

The full range of Fabregas signed memorabilia will be available to buy from Icons.com in the coming days/weeks – so stay tuned!

Each and every item of Cesc Fabregas signed memorabilia will come with an official Certificate of Authenticity, which serves as your proof that Fabregas’ signature is 100% authentic and was genuinely signed by the man himself during this private signing session, organised and conducted by our dedicated signing team.

For all the latest on which global megastar we sign with next, as well as early access to products and exclusive discounts, giveaways and much more, make sure you’re subscribed to the Icons.com email newsletter. Sign up today via icons.com/newsletter.



We Predict… UEFA EURO 2020

It’s here! It’s finally here! A year later than scheduled (don’t worry, we won’t get into all that) European football finds itself at the starting line of a month-long football feast: UEFA EURO 2020 is upon us!

It’s safe to say this tournament will be unlike any other that has come before it with the competition to be played in twelve different host countries, some of which will have stadiums at full capacity, others which will not. Quite frankly, it’s all new. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be exciting. In fact, the bizarre makeup of this tournament is probably likely to throw up more shocks than ever before. So what we’re trying to say is: don’t rule out an Austria v North Macedonia final…

And so that brings us to the Icons.com staff predictions. We’ve learned over the years that predicting the future, as it turns out, is pretty difficult. But that’s not going to stop us from trying!

And, of course, be sure to check out our fantastic range of official UEFA EURO 2020 signed memorabilia from stars past and present – available right now on Icons.com. Now then, let’s get to it…

There is no shortage of talent among the French ranks, UEFA EURO 2020’s favourites

Edward Freedman, Non-Executive Chairman

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: FIFA World Cup winners FRANCE have a whole host of technical players who are just excellent.
Runner-up: GERMANY always do very well in tournaments.

Golden Boot winner: France’s ANTOINE GRIEZMANN has the quality to finish as the tournament’s top scorer.
Player of the Tournament: Germany’s UEFA Champions League-winning talisman KAI HAVERTZ will impress at his first major tournament.

Notable overachievers: With a relatively straightforward group, the NETHERLANDS will go a long way despite being written off in some quarters.
Notable underachievers: Sadly, this will be ENGLAND.

England will… not do very well. I don’t see them making it past the quarter-finals.

Random bold prediction: Led by Christian Eriksen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Denmark will go deep in this competition.

With Ronaldo, Fernandes, Felix, Dias, Jota and more, Portugal look especially strong

Dan Jamieson, CEO

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: With a forward line made up of Icons – Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo – PORTUGAL will retain it. Half of their defence comprises PFA Team of the Year honourees led by a coach who knows what it takes to win. And, of course, my Liverpool boy Diogo Jota!
Runner-up: At a tournament like this, having an ability to not concede is often more preferable to an ability to score tons of goals – just look at Portugal in 2016. With that in mind, I’m going with ITALY.

Golden Boot winner: Portugal’s DIOGO JOTA carries his domestic form on to the big stage.
Player of the Tournament:
Another Portuguese star, BRUNO FERNANDES, seizes his opportunity to clamber into the pantheon of world class players.

Notable overachievers: Now that Christian Eriksen has found form, expect DENMARK to go far.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY can’t escape the clutches of that Group of Death.

England will… get to the quarters then go out to the first decent team we meet. The FIFA World Rankings put us third best in Europe and we’re basically at home this summer but unless the draw opens up and we get Sweden again it’ll be the last eight for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.

Random bold prediction: Scotland draw with England but drop out of the tournament at the group stages after celebrating too much.

Opinion is divided on a Netherlands team that will look to Georginio Wijnaldum for influence

Ben Soley, Sales and Marketing Manager

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: FRANCE. The FIFA World Cup winners can can be triumphant once again.
Runner-up: I’m backing the NETHERLANDS to go the furthest in a UEFA EURO tournament since the great team of Marco Van Baste, Ruud Gullit and Frank Rijkaard in 1988.

Golden Boot winner: With an easy enough group to get a good head-start on likes of Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe, ROMELU LUKAKU wins this.
Player of the Tournament:
Does a 26-year-old BRUNO FERNANDES have enough left in the tank after more games than any other player in Europe in 2020/21?

Notable overachievers: With a reliable keeper, strong centre-back pairing and Eriksen, Thomas Delaney and Hojbjerg in the middle creating a strong spine, DENMARK not only have a talented quite but a more than manageable group. I just worry if Martin Braithwaite, Yussuf Poulsen and Andreas Cornelius can get them the goals. 
Notable underachievers:
BELGIUM have the oldest squad in the tournament, Kevin De Bruyne has broken eyes, and they have to travel to Baku and back again. Although it’s an easy group I think they’ll get knocked out in the quarters or earlier.

England will… come up against tough competition en route to the latter stages and scrape to the quarters. But anything less than the semi-finals would be deemed a failure.

Random bold prediction: Wales to score the team goal of the tournament (I’m convinced after Harry Wilson’s goal vs Belgium). Goran Pandev to score three goals at his first UEFA EURO finals match with North Macedonia. There will be at least one five-goal thriller in Group F.

UEFA EURO 2020 will be Scotland’s first major tournament appearance since 1998

Alistair Hunter, Senior Editor

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: There’s no reason to overthink this: FRANCE have the strongest team on paper, with multiple world-class players in key areas and depth beyond belief. The return of Karim Benzema should not be overlooked – he is the outstanding out-and-out centre forward Les Bleus didn’t quite have before (my sincere apologies to Monsieur Giroud).
Runner-up: With the likes of Foden, Mount and Grealish, ENGLAND have an explosive young squad tempered by the steady guidance of Gareth Southgate. Fitness is a concern, but don’t underestimate the fact they will likely have home advantage in all but one of their games – right up to and including the final.

Golden Boot winner: Only Cristiano Ronaldo had more shots than LORENZO INSIGNE in Serie A this season and with Group A looking relatively straightforward for Italy, the Napoli man – and Golden Boot outsider – will have this sewn up by the Round of 16.
Player of the Tournament: Now that he has hair like Gazza, PHIL FODEN will emulate the great Geordie legend and prove he is among the world’s very best players with a series of show-stopping displays.

Notable overachievers: Sometimes you just have to let your heart rule your head. This is one such occasion. Give me SCOTLAND to defy expectations and reach the quarter-finals. Because why not?
Notable underachievers:
It’ll be quite the shock when the NETHERLANDS are not able to qualify from their group. Remember, third place won’t be enough for two unlucky teams.

Scotland will… be to UEFA EURO 2020 what Wales were to UEFA EURO 2016 – a joyous underdog story. If Che Adams or Lyndon Dykes can find the net, the likes of Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, Scott McTominay and John McGinn have enough quality to ensure progress beyond the group stages. Third place in Group D may actually set them up quite kindly in the Round of 16… and you may now stop laughing.

Random bold prediction: No UEFA EURO finals match has ever been won by more than five goals. That will change at this tournament.

COVID-19 concerns still loom large over UEFA EURO 2020

Jamie White, Online Content & Social Media Producer

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: It’s a toss-up between France and PORTUGAL. But I fancy the idea of Ronaldo and Fernandes taking them all the way in the competition.
Runner-up: FRANCE have the strongest team on paper, in my opinion. But the strongest team doesn’t always win the whole thing. Just look at 2016.

Golden Boot winner: Bit of an obvious choice but I’ll go KYLIAN MBAPPE. He is a world class player and, crucially, he loves an international competition.
Player of the Tournament:
BRUNO FERNANDES is a top quality player. It’s just unfortunate that he plays for United. The playmaker has a fantastic attitude and I believe his desire to win for his country will show through this summer.

Notable overachievers: SWITZERLAND have had a good run of results in the lead-up to this tournament.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY will be the casualty of a very difficult Group F.

England will… win it! Only joking, I was really optimistic for England, with our young exciting squad. But after watching the warm-up games we looked to struggle to create many chances. I think Southgate will be a little too cautious with his team selection. I’m saying we will go out in the quarter-finals but I hope I’m wrong. Jack Grealish will be our stand-out player.

Random bold prediction: The Indian variant of COVID-19 cancels the whole thing!

There are high hopes for Jack Grealish to have a breakout tournament with England

Will Franklin, Head of Customer Support

UEFA EURO 2020 winners: This has to be FRANCE. Their players and manager are serial winners on the big stage and I think they’ll be too much for anyone else to handle this year.
Runner-up: With a fairly ‘easy’ route to the latter stages, if things go to plan for them, BELGIUM have enough to beat the likes of Portugal, England (unfortunately) et al.

Golden Boot winner: ROMELU LUKAKU should easily net some goals in the group stages. If they reach the final, you can expect him to be up there.
Player of the Tournament:
N’GOLO KANTE. One of the best players in world football right now and his ‘under the radar’ work ethic is starting to be rightly appreciated. 

Notable overachievers: I think TURKEY have some great players who are in good form so they have the potential to go far.
Notable underachievers:
GERMANY (I hope). Let’s have a repeat of the 2018 FIFA World Cup group stages, please.

England will… be undone on the day by other top teams. That said, this is probably the most excited I’ve been before an international tournament for some time. We have a young, talented squad with a massive future. We could be gone by the Round of 16 with the route being as it is, but if not I’d expect us to get to the semi-finals.

Random bold prediction: Jack Grealish will be England’s best player by a country mile.


Shop from our full range of 100% official UEFA EURO 2020 signed memorabilia by visiting Icons.com today…

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FC Barcelona & Spain Legend Xavi Signs for Icons.com!

Today we are excited to announce the latest iconic name to sign memorabilia for Icons.com: former FC Barcelona and Spain midfield maestro Xavi!

Signing behind closed doors at a private session in Qatar on February 8th this year, Xavi added his signature to a wide range of incredible new items, including shirts, photos, boots, balls and more. 

Alongside his countryman Andres Iniesta, Xavi stood out among a number of truly great players during a spell of unprecedented success for both his club and country. A midfielder with a unique ability to make his complex role in an elaborate system look as easy as a walk in the park, Xavi was best at controlling the tempo of a match with his spectacular vision and range of passing.

Xavi signed FC Barcelona and Spain memorabilia will be available to buy not only in our sleek Icons.com presentation options but also in our official and exclusive FC Barcelona, UEFA Champions League, UEFA EURO 2020 and FIFA World Cup memorabilia ranges.

The full range of Xavi signed memorabilia is available to buy now exclusively from Icons.com!

Each and every item of Xavi signed memorabilia will come with an official Certificate of Authenticity, which serves as your proof that Xavi’s signature is 100% authentic and was genuinely signed by the man himself during this private signing session, organised by our dedicated signing team.

For all the latest on which global megastar we sign with next, as well as early access to products and exclusive discounts, giveaways and much more, make sure you’re subscribed to the Icons.com email newsletter. Sign up today via icons.com/newsletter.

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We Predict… The 2018 FIFA World Cup

You feel that, right? That’s the feeling we football fans get in the days leading up to the start of a FIFA World Cup. That’s the feeling you get when you know there’s a whole month of tournament football lying in wait. After Russia face Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener at the Luzhniki on Thursday, there are 55 games in the space of 19 days. Once it all gets going there’ll only be one day left of June that won’t have a match on. You feel it, right? It’s called FIFA World Cup fever.

Everyone at Icons.com has it. We’re all heading out to Russia over the course of the tournament and we could’t be more excited. But nor could we be more divided on what’s going to go down when the best of the best go head-to-head.

Making a hash of what’s to come over the next 32 days, our staff and partners have made their predictions for the competition ahead. But don’t take our word as gospel, feel free to get involved on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages by giving us your predictions. After all, you can hardly do much worse.

And, of course, be sure to check out our fantastic range of official FIFA World Cup signed memorabilia from icons past and present – available right now on Icons.com.


Edward Freedman, Chairman

Winners: SPAIN have the best individuals and, since their victory in 2010, they are experienced in winning this tournament.

Runner-up: FRANCE’s weakest link is their inexperience but they have a great team that can get them to a second straight tournament final.

Shock exit: ENGLAND are rubbish. I don’t think they’re in the same class as a lot of the teams being talked about at this tournament. The Three Lions will draw against Panama and lose to Tunisia with the former shocking the world to progress to the knockout stages.

Golden Boot: DIEGO COSTA will inspire the eventual winners with a glut of goals.

England will… well, see above.

Random predictions: Iran will do a lot better than people expect while Belgium will disappoint despite progressing through Group G.

Can Diego Costa fire Spain to their second world title – a fourth major tournament triumph in ten years?

Dan Jamieson, CEO

Winners: SPAIN know how to win it, can keep the ball forever, have the world’s best goalkeeper and this time around they have the ugliest of ugly up front. And, of course, Sergio Ramos can take out any striker whenever necessary.

Runner-up: I like the look of FRANCE. They are my office sweepstake pick and I also like the look of about 23 high-calibre players that can’t even get into the squad (think Franck Ribery, Karim Benzema, Anthony Martial etc.). I think it’s a tournament too early for them to become world champions but the mix is right and in Antoine Griezmann they have a potential Golden Boot winner.

Shock exit: BRAZIL are not as good as they think they are, especially at defending. Neymar Jr can’t be 100% fit and the team is built around him. If they are dysfunctional upfront then the first big team that stands up to them can exploit the spaces at the back.

Golden Boot: If France get to the final then GRIEZMANN will play seven games and clean up just as he did at UEFA EURO 2016.

England will… play better football, look relatively organised, narrowly win the first two games, lose to Belgium and then come close to beating Colombia in the ROUND OF 16. They will come home feeling that the future’s brighter than the present.

Random predictions: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s mission to complete their trophy collection will be the journalistic narrative but team ethos, top goalkeeping, multiple goal threats, sound defending and ball-keeping midfielders will triumph over what they can offer. England fans will be looking through the silverware-winning U17 and U20 squads and drawing up their 2026 FIFA World Cup teamsheets come early July.

France forward Antoine Griezmann will be looking to go one better after Les Blues came close at UEFA EURO 2016.

Ben Soley, Sales and Marketing Manager

Winners: You don’t necessarily need the depth GERMANY have to win seven FIFA World Cup matches but the quality they possess is just insane. The fact that Leroy Sane will be watching from home (or more likely from a private island resort) speaks volumes.

Runner-up: FRANCE have the joint second youngest squad at the tournament. They beat Germany at UEFA EURO 2016 but that was on home soil. A second straight loss in a major final will be hard to take but we will be approaching a period of French dominance if they can eventually get it right.

Shock exit: Expectations will be higher for COLOMBIA after a stunning FIFA World Cup campaign four years ago and their group is one of the more competitive. PORTUGAL’s time in Russia will end as soon as they reach the knockouts. Both will be seen as underachievements.

Golden Boot: So many options! Having said that, I fancy someone from Group A with those kind fixtures against Russia and Saudi Arabia providing a good chance for the hat-trick that would take you halfway to the crown. I’ll be brave and go with Uruguay to be the nation with the most goals while MOHAMED SALAH takes the individual prize.

England will… lose in the QUARTER-FINALS. It’s hard not to put on the rose-tinted glasses. We have some outstanding wing-backs, one of the best strikers in the world and some great and in-form attacking support. Tight wins against Panama and Tunisia, coupled with a draw against Belgium, followed by a gritty win against one of Colombia or Poland in the round of 16 takes us to the quarters and Germany. That’s when I throw my glasses away.

Random predictions: Iran will only concede two goals but still go out at the group stages. Harry Kane will score a hat-trick while Harry Maguire will be an unlikely goalscorer. Lionel Messi will speak out against the AFA when Argentina are knocked out.

Germany are much-fancied to defend their title with strength in depth a particular asset.

Alistair Hunter, Senior Editor

Winners: BRAZIL are the perfect combination of gritty between the lines and irresistible going forward.

Runner-up: SPAIN are back to their best but come up just shy of a fourth title in ten years.

Shock exit: It pains me to say it as a massive fan of Lionel Messi but I see ARGENTINA going out at the group stages. Group D is deceptively tricky and there is a clear imbalance to Jorge Sampaoli’s squad. A fast start is needed to keep the immense pressure of their supporters’ expectations from getting to them.

Golden Boot: A relatively straightforward group and a deep run to the latter stages gives NEYMAR JR the best chance.

England will… reach the QUARTER-FINALS. Victory over Tunisia will lift their spirits enough to also cruise past Panama but defeat to Belgium leaves them second in Group G. They scrape by Colombia in the round of 16 causing a surge of excitement back home before Southgate’s men are outclassed (but hardly embarrassed) by the almighty Germans.

Random predictions: Lacking experience, training and guidance, FIFA World Cup officials struggle to properly implement VAR, which leads to several high-profile mistakes and widespread protestations over the use of the technology at future tournaments. Meanwhile Group C tops the goalscoring charts. 

Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) will be in use at the FIFA World Cup for the very first time. But will it help or hinder?

James Tildesley, Head of New Business

Winners: GERMANY, as I really don’t see a weak area of their game and they have such depth to their squad. Couple that with a manager who knows how to win and I can’t see past them.

Runner-up: I like the look of Spain and Brazil but I think FRANCE will be the ones who eventually lose out to the Germans. Again, this is a team with a phenomenally good squad which appears to have less of the types of personalities that derailed them so spectacularly in 2010.

Shock exit: PORTUGAL have a difficult group and I felt they really flattered to deceive at UEFA EURO 2016. There will be plenty who say they won it on merit and I would tend to agree but I also feel there was an absence of any real opposition.

Golden Boot: I have money on TIMO WERNER so failure is not an option.

England will… get done 2-0 in the ROUND OF 16. I don’t see us doing much better than scraping out of our group but it’s also difficult for me to picture anything other than a spectacular disappointment in which we lose to Tunisia and Belgium and draw with Panama.

Random predictions: Mohamed Salah will overcome his shoulder injury to score six in Group A as he pulls himself into contention for the Golden Boot (I have money on him as well!). 

Egypt’s undoubted talisman, Mohamed Salah, will lead the line in a group of Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Brett Sinclair, Warehouse Manager

Winners: BELGIUM have an all-round top quality squad with plenty of experience. They just need to work well together in a way that they have not before. Let’s see what Roberto Martinez can do.

Runner-up: ENGLAND. I must say that I think we are going in to the FIFA World Cup with a young squad that will have a lot to prove. Let’s wait and see what they can do.

Shock exit: There seems to be a lot of hype surrounding SPAIN this year but I think they get frustrated too easily. They may be on the end of a few red cards which could spell trouble in the group stages.

Golden Boot: As long as ANTOINE GRIEZMANN is on the pitch, I would always expect to see big things coming from him. The French squad has tons of talent and they should be able to make it easy for him.

England will… make it to the FINAL, as I stated earlier.

Random predictions: My very random prediction is that we will see a very high number of cards. I also think that VAR will not be used nearly as much as it should.

Is it time for Belgium’s golden generation to come good?



Icons Launch Exclusive ‘Signed & Match Worn’ Section

Andres-Iniesta

Icons work with the world’s best players and today we are proud to launch our new and exclusive signed and match worn section. These are authentic, unique, game-used items direct from some of the greatest players on the planet. But how do you know these shirts are the real deal? 

Icons has and always will be dedicated to the highest standards of authenticity and our brand new signed and match worn range is no different. There are just a few simple questions you have to ask yourself as a customer to put your mind at rest when buying these items.

 

Does the supplier have long-standing and official relationships with the players?

Just a glance at the Icons homepage will tell you we have been working with the world’s best for over a decade and a half. We have official contracts with Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale and have been working with Cristiano Ronaldo for over ten years now. No one else in the world can claim such partnerships, with Icons a step ahead at every turn. We also have established relationships with the likes of Neymar Jr, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta and many more.

Does the supplier have photos of the player with the match worn shirt?

Icons is proud to provide clear photos of the player with the exact shirt they played in and have signed. This sort of endorsement is what elevates Icons above the rest. Our signed and match worn shirts are also dated, where possible. These dates were hand-written by the players themselves as a way to officially stamp said shirt as match worn from that specific match on that specific date.

Luis-Suarez-(Liverpool)

Do the shirts have any unique identifiers?

All our match worn shirts have unique identifiers establishing them as the products worn in the matches we say they are. Our Barcelona match worn shirts have an authentic tag on the hem of the shirt, which contains a serial number with nine digits, the year of the season and the iconic Nike tick. Our Luis Suarez Liverpool shirt bears the official Hillsborough 25th Anniversary crest that was specifically created for that game and has not been worn since. And our Andres Iniesta Spain shirt bears text under the badge, confirming the match opponents, date and location for example.

What about Certificates of Authenticity?

Anyone with a word processor can create a COA. All our items come with a Certificate of Authenticity, which include the details of the signing session and a photo of the player signing the product line at the signing session, where available. We introduced numbered, sequential Icons holograms to add to the COA security. They are uniquely printed on two sided black card so as to be unphotocopiable too. Details of our company are registered with Companies House and our company number is 06791294 – this is always displayed on the COAs. We are easily traceable and subject to UK law. So, if you can’t find a company’s details on its website then proceed with caution and remember you will have no claims in the courts. Our CEO personally signs every COA and we never reproduce signatures, even for this small task.

Gareth-Bale-match-worn-shirt-real-madrid

Do they have licenses with official bodies?

Icons were awarded the world’s first ever signed football memorabilia licence by FIFA in 2010 so we could produce our range of iconic signed World Cup products. We went on to create a range for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and have been awarded the rights for the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. In July 2012, Icons was awarded the first ever official licence for the UEFA Champions League and have renewed for 2015-18. Our rights now also include the UEFA Europa League so together our ranges incorporate the entire history of elite European club competition. We were also given the first ever UEFA European Championships memorabilia licence in 2015. As such, we’ve just launched our official UEFA EURO 2016 France range. If the governing bodies of world and European football deal with Icons, why would you buy signed items from anywhere else? Icons are looking to bring you match worn shirts from these tournaments so as to be able to combine our licences with these coveted products. Sign up to the Icons newsletter to find out first about this.

 

So remember when buying match worn items, does it have:

  • A COA and hologram with it?
  • A photo of the player with the item?
  • A signature from the player in question?
  • Where possible a date tying it to the specific game?
  • Identifiable patches or manufacturers details marking it as a match issue shirt?

 

Icons Shop Ltd is the world’s leading football memorabilia company and Icons.com the most trusted brand in the game. Authenticity is everything to us, as it is everything to our customers. So check out our exclusive and exciting match worn range featuring genuine shirts worn by the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta and Gareth Bale.

 

For our full range of match worn products, check out icons.com now!

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Go Behind The Scenes Of Our Signing With Andres Iniesta With Our Brand New Video

Andres-Inesta-Icons

Andres Iniesta is one of Spanish football’s greatest ever players. When Barcelona manager Luis Enrique called him “a national monument” after the team’s 4-0 thumping of Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in November 2015, few could argue with him. That’s because, put simply, Iniesta is one of the very best in the game today.

So is it any wonder the midfield maestro is one of our most popular Icons?

Now you too can go behind the scenes of our latest signing with Andres with our fantastic new signing video, which showcases our close connection with the Barcelona superstar, who has signed with us since 2011.

In his fourth session with Icons, Andres happily signed a wide range of Barcelona and Spain shirts, home and away, as well as a selection of action photos and his very own Nike boots.

For the full range of Iniesta signed shirts, boots, balls and photos, head over to icons.com today and don’t forget to enter the discount code “JAN16SALE” for 20% off on selected items throughout January.

andres-inesta-signed-barcelona-shirt_1_andres-inesta-matchworn-signed-spain-shirt For a full report on our signing session with Andres, click herePhotos courtesy of Matt Hardy. For more images of Icons’ visit to Barcelona, visit www.matthardyphotography.co.uk.

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Neymar Jr Returns! Brazilian Talisman Signs With Icons Again

Neymar-Jr-Signing-Session-Icons

We saw Neymar for another special signing session on August 6th 2015 in Barcelona. Once again a pleasure to work with, the Brazilian offered the highest level of professionalism possible. Regarded as one of the most exciting talents to hit the international stage in years, Neymar Junior has the world at his feet. The Brazilian boy wonder is part of the most dangerous attacking force on the planet and in 2015, Neymar is set to take the world by storm once again with Brazil and Barcelona.

At just 23 years of age, Neymar has achieved more than some footballers do in their entire careers. Dubbed “the new Pele” by the great man himself, the young forward quickly amassed plaudits following his Santos debut aged 17. In his first three seasons with Santos, Neymar won three consecutive league titles and was awarded Player of the Year each campaign. He also beat Wayne Rooney and Leo Messi to the prestigious FIFA Goal of the Year award in 2011 for a skilful run and calm finish against Flamenco. At just 18, Neymar made his debut for the Seleção and now just five years later is the focal point and captain of the Brazil national side. He was a constant goal threat at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil before injury ruled him out of the semi-finals. The forwards’s style is rooted in the street football he played growing up in Sao Paulo; all sharp touches, stylish step-overs and incisive flicks.

Joining Barcelona after a sensational 2013 Confederations Cup, Neymar settled quickly, reaching double figures in goals for the Catalan giants in his first season. Neymar’s quick-footed flair and incredible pace make him a joy to watch; but it’s his devastating finishing that looks set to make him a legend and Icon for years to come.  He now partners Leo Messi and Luis Suarez in the most feared strike force in the world and one that led Barcelona to an unprecedented treble in 2015, ending the season with a personal 39 goals in all competitions.

Other superstars such as the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Ronaldinho and retired World Cup winner Ronaldo have all identified Neymar as the next best player in the world. Will 2015 see Neymar inherit that title from the man who just so happens to be a teammate?  Whatever the outcome, fans are in for a treat as the best players in the world vie for football’s top prize.

New range of signed Neymar Junior memorabilia

Neymar has been signing with Icons since 2012, just before his £71.5 million move to Spain.

Neymar memorabilia is hugely popular on icons.com and we are delighted to stock products carrying the authentic Neymar Junior autograph. These include current and previous Barcelona and Brazil shirts as well as seminal photographs and posters signed by all three of the amigos. Don’t miss out on these ultimate collector’s items, a must-have for any true Barcelona fan.