Adidas Launches Global Line Around Lionel Messi, Hopes Star Power Works In U.S.
adidas believes that La Liga club FC Barcelona F Lionel Messi is "such a transcendent star, it would be silly NOT to try” to promote him in the U.S., according to Brian Shactman of CNBC.com. Messi is “the best soccer player in the world but he's virtually unknown” stateside. adidas America Soccer Dir Ernesto Bruce said, "Soccer in the U.S. has lovers, and it has haters." adidas just “launched a global retail brand of shoes and apparel that are all about Lionel Messi.” Bruce said, "Our goal with the Messi line is to make him globally recognized as one of the best ever -- and that includes the U.S." He added, "This is only the second time we've ever done a global line like this. David Beckham was the first." But Shactman wrote the “problem in America isn't just that soccer is fifth fiddle,” it also is that Messi “doesn't possess a star's persona.” Bruce: "We struggle with that at times because we want to use him in other disciplines. But what's great about it is that he's authentic." He added, "We are launching now because we think the 2014 World Cup will be historic for Messi” (CNBC.com, 4/1).