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20th June 2024 EDT RELEASES

O Fenômeno Returns: Nike Re-Releases the Beloved 1998 Brazil Jersey

Arriving in two variants: a timeless version without any name or number, and an "R9" edition featuring the legendary 1998 markings of Ronaldo.


Few jerseys in football history possess the legendary status of Brazil’s 1998 iteration. Marking the dawn of a historic partnership between Nike and the Brazilian national team, it arrived alongside a now-iconic airport advertisement, the revolutionary Nike Mercurial boots, and a young phenomenon named Ronaldo. While the tournament didn’t culminate in the desired victory, the jersey, particularly emblazoned with “Ronaldo 9” on the back, became a symbol of an era, transcending its purpose on the pitch.

Now, 25 years after that fabled tournament, Nike seems poised to resurrect this legendary garment. Subtle hints have been peppered throughout recent months: a photo of London streetwear pioneer Clint Ogbenna sporting the jersey alongside Ronaldo in Brazil, Vinicius Jr. donning it for the Air Zoom Mercurial TN launch, and most recently, Andreas Pereira showcasing it on his Instagram.

Fresh off the release of Brazil’s 2024 Copa America kit, speculation suggests a two-pronged approach for the 1998 jersey’s return: a classic, player-less version, and an “R9” iteration that faithfully replicates the original name and number set of “O Fenômeno” (The Phenomenon). Early glimpses suggest a meticulous recreation, honoring design details and retro elements like the thick ’90s neckline and embroidered embellishments.

However, a subtle modernization is also expected. While maintaining the core aesthetic, the re-release is rumored to incorporate Nike’s Dri-Fit technology, offering enhanced comfort compared to the original’s heavier 1998 material.

Forged in 1996, the Nike-Brazil partnership debuted with the 1997 Copa America kits. The following year, for the World Cup in France, the iconic collar, a mainstay for five iterations, was removed. This bold choice resulted in a streamlined, modern aesthetic perfectly embodying the young, dynamic Brazilian team led by Ronaldo.

Alongside Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, and Cafu, they narrowly missed ultimate glory, but etched their names in football folklore, setting the stage for a new generation that would conquer the world four years later.

The Brazil 1998 Reissue Apparel Collection is scheduled for release on 21 June. Find them then on Nike’s brick-and-click stores then!

Source: SoccerBible

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