As soon as Barcelona knew that they will have to travel to Russia and Ukraine for their Champions League first round matches, they requested that Nike provide for them a range of kits that allow players to withstand the low temperatures expected at these venues, reports Catalan paper Sport.
Nike solved the problem with a product that is both comfortable to wear and is able to cope with fifteen degrees below zero temperatures. This undergarment will be part of the player’s kit for this Wednesday’s match against Rubin Kazan.
Called ‘Pro Combat’, it features the latest technological advances in comfort and thermal insulation. Nike will prepare three sets of the kit for each player so they can start using them tomorrow during the first training session in Kazan. Each elastic body-fitting kit consist an under-shirt, knee-length trousers and gloves.
The lightweight three-piece suit is made from a special textile that prevents moisture loss and is lighter and more flexible than any other product on the market. It also has layers of foam to prevent abrasion and shock. The ‘dry fit’ material also lets the user maintain body heat, avoid perspiration and prevent the cold from permeating with the player’s body.
Unlike the uncomfortable leotards, wearing this layer of kit will ensure the players are well protected against the harsh elements and the cold hard playing surface. In any case, as the kit is not compulsory, some players like Puyol may choose to forgo wearing it.
For their part, Rubin players usually utilise less sophisticated home-made remedy to ‘combat’ the cold war. One of the common method used, mostly by the Brazilians, is to put a type of cream on their toes to prevent frostbite. A kind of Vaseline cream is also used to warm their legs while some also resort to wrapping them with plastic wrappers to prevent heat and humidity loss. Those most sensitive to the cold will also resort to a warm broth before they enter the pitch. As goalkeepers exert very little energy in a match, thus creating little body heat, most of them also wear woollen ear muffs to prevent heat loss.