For all those watching ESPN and the World Cup lately, you must have seen the Nike Football commercials. The original one which is called "Write The Future" features Wayne Rooney, Franck Ribery, Didier Drogba, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Fabio Cannavaro.
Tim Howard and Landon Donovan have small cameos in the commercial but it is mainly focused on the six gentlemen I mentioned above. Now this commercial came out in May and features some of the best soccer players in the world. Yet, when it came to World Cup time most of them floundered.
So the question is, is the "Write the Future" commercial a curse?
Let's start off with Ronaldinho who didn't even make the 2010 World Cup squad for Brazil. The 30-year-old Brazilian was the FIFA player of the year in 2004 and 2005 and played well for AC Milan this season, yet was left off of the squad by Coach Dunga.
Next we have Didier Drogba who unfortunately fractured his arm in a warm up game against Japan in early June. Many thought that he would be out for the entire World Cup, yet he was able to play in a couple of games.
However, the Elephants weren't able to make it past the group stage and finished third in Group G behind Brazil and Portugal. Didier Drogba was able to muster a goal despite having a fractured arm and played in what many people called the "group of death."
Wayne Rooney, the famed Wazza, who many people love and adore, failed to do much of anything in this year's World Cup. The 24-year-old striker who plays for Manchester United had a brilliant season in the EPL and finished with 34 goals.
In South Africa he missed wide open opportunities, failed to make plays, and looked out of it at times. The striker, who many English fans believed would take the team to the later rounds of the World Cup, was a blunder in all four of the games he played in.
England was knocked out of the tournament today thanks to a 4-1 loss against Germany.
Franck Ribery might have had the worst World Cup experience of all the players. Ribery and France failed to make it out of the group stage and many players revolted and refused to train because of fellow player Nicolas Anelka's forced departure from the national team. Due to a fight between Anelka and coach Raymond Domenech, the striker was sent home and the players didn't agree.
Ribery played in all three games and didn't put up any stats unless you count one yellow card. Not only did France fail to move on from the group stage, they finished last in Group A, and embarrassed an entire nation.
Cristiano Ronaldo who plays for Portugal and Real Madrid has also failed to live up to the hype. The 25-year-old striker has one goal in three games but has failed to do much else. The Portuguese superstar who scored 33 goals in 35 appearances for Real Madrid, has given a few lackluster performances so far in South Africa.
Ronaldo and Portugal play Euro 2008 Champion and winner of Group H, Spain, on Tuesday in the Round of 16. Hopefully Ronaldo can step it up otherwise he'll find himself joining Ribery, Drogba, and Rooney, watching the rest of the World Cup on T.V.
Lastly we have Fabio Cannavaro. The 36-year-old defender who plays for Juventus and Italy's national team, played in three games in South Africa and accumulated one yellow card. After losing 3-2 to Slovakia in the final group game subsequently causing Italy's elimination, the Italian captain decided it was time to step down and hand over the reigns to someone else. It is reported that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will take over.
The 2006 World Cup Champions' exit came as a shock to the world. Azzuri went winless in this years campaign in South Africa and came in last in Group F.
Howard and Donovan who both play for the U.S. and had cameos in the commercial didn't do as bad as the others. Team USA managed to make it to the Round of 16 before a heartbreaking loss yesterday to Ghana by the score of 2-1. Donovan notched three goals in this year's run in South Africa and Howard made plenty of great saves. In the end it wasn't enough and in the game against Ghana, Donovan and Howard both could have played better.
So is the Nike Football commercial a curse? It would seem so considering one player got injured, one failed to even make the roster, and four players and their teams were unsuccessful and were eliminated in group play.
Is this soccer's version of football's Madden curse?
All signs point to yes.
Take a look at the commercial for yourselves...