Tag: UEFA Champions League

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Kop Idol Jamie Carragher Signs For Icons

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It’s not hard to see why Jamie Carragher is so beloved by Liverpool fans. A fiercely loyal and remarkably determined competitor, “Carra” played 737 times during a career spanning sixteen seasons and not once did he turn out for a team other than the Reds. His devotion to the Anfield side notwithstanding, Jamie’s often underrated talent, leadership and charming everyman personality elevated him from stalwart central defender to a homegrown hero adored by the Kop.

For all these reasons and more, Icons were eager to meet with the man himself for a private signing session at the office of his charity, the 23 Foundation, on Wednesday January 27th – a mere day before Jamie’s thirty-eighth birthday.

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Lining the walls of the Foundation’s plush yet homely headquarters were a number of photos chronicling Jamie’s distinguished career in professional football. Striking images of a young Jamie sat alongside memories of Liverpool’s celebrated treble-winning season of 2000-01 and, of course, plenty of photos from that famous night in Istanbul.

As the signing began, Jamie happily chatted away about Liverpool’s penalty shoot-out victory over Stoke City in the previous evening’s Capital One Cup semi-final clash at Anfield. While talking up the Reds’ chances of winning the competition at the Wembley final on February 28th, Carra himself appeared on the television behind us. Joking with current Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp about injuries, Jamie suggested he could be brought back into the fold to help out the injury-ravaged squad. “I need players who can go for 120 minutes,” Klopp laughed.

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Though these days he may not be able to stay the course of a full match with extra time, Jamie was certainly more than capable of giving his all for 120 minutes – and more – back in his prime. On no occasion was this more true than on May 25th, 2005 in Istanbul. The events of that night, as Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League in the most dramatic style, will live long in the memory of any Red. That’s why we wanted to deliver signed products from Jamie that commemorate that incredible night; products like his front signed Istanbul shirt; the dual signed official programme; and the framed “2005 Champions League Winner” photo.

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With another successful signing winding down, Jamie revealed to us that he was to spend the weekend in Milan, watching the Derby della Madonnina at the San Siro. It came as no surprise that a man who has such an undying passion for football would want to spend the weekend of his birthday watching Inter take on AC in one of the sport’s biggest fixtures.

But what did shock us was the fact that Jamie would be going as a paying punter, a fan in the stands. Here is a man who has won nearly everything there is to win in the club game, has lifted Europe’s biggest trophy and is adored by one of the world’s biggest football clubs. Yet true to his roots, passionate and humble as ever, Carra would be back out on to the stands, watching the game he loves.

For our full range of Jamie Carragher signed 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

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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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Icons Visits Barcelona’s Training Ground To Meet Luis Suarez

Having met with Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta on Friday and Sunday respectively, Icons rounded off a fantastic weekend of signings by spending Monday morning with fellow FC Barcelona superstar Luis Suarez at the club’s training ground, La Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper.
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The Icons team arrived shortly before the players’ first session of the day and were greeted by flashing cameras as eager fans tried to snap a photo of their heroes going to work.

Setting ourselves up in a private room within the impressive facilities, Icons eagerly awaited an in-form Luis, who arrived ten minutes later, wearing Barca’s blue and yellow training kit and a cheeky smile on his face.FCB

Although the signing was brief, we still found time to chat to Luis about La Blaugrana’s title hopes and the team’s upcoming trip to Japan for this year’s FIFA Club World Cup. Having expressed his excitement for the rest of the season, Luis also revealed the statue of himself that is to be erected in his hometown of Salto in Uruguay would be ready in March.

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Signing a host of products including the 2015-16 Barcelona home shirt, Luis also added his signature to a photo already signed by Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. The excellent photo shows “The Three Amigos” celebrating their famous UEFA Champions League triumph in Berlin last season.Luis-Suarez-Icons-Signing-Photos

It was a remarkable season that saw the Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil forwards score a staggering 122 goals, as Luis and Neymar both scored in the showpiece final against Juventus to securea historic treble. The photo is available in our Official UEFA Champions League framing style and with just ten of these items in the world; it’s a product that is not to be missed.

It seems that almost as soon as Luis is with us, he’s whisked away again, back to training before a litany of media appearances on a busy day as Barcelona prepare for Wednesday’s Copa Del Rey clash with Segunda side Villanovense. Luis-Suarez-Icons-Signing-Photos

With that Icons’ long weekend away with the Catalan club’s superstars is over. Flying home in high spirits, the team is ready and raring to dispatch orders from our massive Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. So, keep your eyes glued to icons.com for our brand new range of signed products.

For our full range of Luis Suarez products, including shirts, photos, boots and balls, check out icons.com now!

Photos courtesy of Matt Hardy. For more images of Icons’ visit to Barcelona, visit www.matthardyphotography.co.uk.

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