How Rey Mysterio influenced the Mexican soccer team's look for the 2014 World Cup
The world will have its eyes on Brazil as 32 nations send their best soccer squads out on the pitch for the month-long FIFA World Cup tournament. Only one team, though, will be wearing a jersey inspired in part by the masks of Rey Mysterio, one of the greatest high-flyers to step inside a WWE ring. It’s a tremendous honor for The Master of The 619.
“Soccer runs in my blood,” Mysterio told WWE.com. “When you talk about Mexican culture, it’s wrestling and soccer.”
Earlier this year, Adidas, makers of the Mexico national team’s kits, let soccer fans in on its design process for the shirts that several teams are wearing during the highly anticipated tournament. For Adidas, making the jerseys isn’t just about having something that looks cool on the field; it’s also creating art that takes aspects of a country’s culture and turning it into something they can be proud of.
“The design language comes from the wrestling culture,” one designer says. “We wanted to bring that to the jersey in an aggressive, bold way.”
Lucha libre’s colorful masks and daredevil high-flying maneuvers was the perfect source of inspiration for the audacious aggression designers wanted. As a reference point to the fast-paced, in-your-face culture of Mexican wrestling, the Adidas stylists continually compared the sharp, lightning bolt lines on the jersey to those often found on Mysterio’s trademark masks, particularly one decorated in the red, white and green of Mexico’s flag.
For the masked marvel, the nod from Adidas’ designers was a complete surprise.
“I didn’t know anything about it until my father told me,” Mysterio said. “I didn’t believe it. He showed me the video and I thought somebody had made it up. I felt incredibly honored when I realized it was true.”
Though stars like Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez won’t be able to bust out a 619 when Mexico takes the field for its first World Cup match against Cameroon on Friday, Mysterio is hoping that his never-say-die spirit will inspire the squad and its fans as it battles for soccer’s richest prize.
“I’m hoping they do well in the World Cup,” Mysterio said. “The fans want to see their team go out there and fight. That’s the kind of team that all the Mexican fans want to see, where even if they lose, they fight it out until the end.”