ORApril 4, 2002 Nike launched a global campaign world Cup in South Korea and Japan, where an impressive advertisement was shown featuring 24 elite footballers and a luxurious host in Eric Canton.
Filmed by Terry Gilliam of Monty Python, the ad was set on a ship where a secret tournament was being played inside a huge cage with a field and two mini-goals at both ends.
The premise of the tournament is simple: hidden from the rest of the world, 24 elite players organize a secret tournament involving eight teams and only one rule: the first goal wins.
Canton watched the matches from the top of the metal structure and was the one to throw the ball into the cage to start the game.
Eight participating teams
Triple espresso: Francesco Totti, Hidetoshi Nakata, Thierry Henry.
OneTouchables: Patrick Vieira, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Paul Scholes.
Cerberus: Edgar Davids, Lillian Thuram, Sylvain Wiltor.
Crazy bulls: Javier Saviola, Luis Enrique, Freddie Ljungberg.
You Tornado: Ronaldo Nazario, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos.
Funk Brothers Seoul: Denilson, Sol Ki Hyun, Ronaldinho.
Fire brigade: Hernan Crespo, Claudio Lopez, Gaizka Mendieta.
Tutto Bene: Fabio Cannavaro, Rio Ferdinand, Thomas Rosicky.
How was the tournament?
The rule was simple: Cantona threw the ball into the cage to start the game. The match ended as soon as one of the two teams scored the first goal.
Triple Espresso vs. OneTouchables: Goal Totti.
Cerberus vs Crazy Bulls: Wiltor’s goal.
Fireteam vs. Tutto Bene: Goal by Mendieta.
Os Tornados vs Funk Seoul Brothers: Goal by Roberto Carlos.
Triple Espresso vs. Cerberus: Nakata’s goal.
Os Tornados vs Fire Team: Figo goal.
Triple Espresso vs Tornado: Henry’s goal
What are all 24 members doing now?
Thierry Henry: After retiring from football, I coached Monaco and MLS Montreal Impact. He is currently the assistant to Roberto Martinez in the Belgian national team, and one of the most popular TV pundits in England and France.
Francesco Totti: He retired from playing in 2017 to become director of Roma, but resigned two years later in an explosive press conference in which he blamed club owner James Pallotta for his departure. Francesco is also a play agent representing Cristian Volpato, who played for the Roma first team this year and scored against Hellas Verona on home soil.
Hidetoshi Nakata: He hung up his boots in 2006 after a loan spell at Bolton. Since then, he has worked as a model and has his own brand of sake, a Japanese drink.
Patrick Vieira: He is currently the head coach of Crystal Palace after spells at Nice and New York City.
Ruud van Nistelrooy: He left Málaga and recently signed a three-year contract with manager PSV Eindhoven from next season.
Paul Scholes: Tried his luck as a coach. Currently working as a television pundit in the UK.
Sylvain Wiltord: After his retirement, he participated in a French television reality show that put former athletes in extreme survival situations.
Edgar Davids: He played in the lower leagues of English football after retiring as a professional and tried to coach several teams without much success.
Lilian Thuram: He is a writer and also the founder of the Lilian Thuram Foundation, which fights against racism. He is an important activist in France.
Xavier Saviola: He retired from professional football to River Plate, but did not hang up his boots. Instead, Saviola continued to play futsal at Encamp in Andorra.
Luis Enrique: He is currently the head coach of the Spanish national team after spells at Celta, Roma and Barcelona.
Freddie Ljungberg: I played four matches for India’s Mumbai City before retiring. He worked as an interim coach at Arsenal and also continued his modeling career.
Louis Figo: He regularly participates in Real Madrid veterans’ games and also appears at FIFA events. He even went so far as to propose his candidacy for the presidency of FIFA.
Ronaldo Nazario: Currently the owner of Real Valladolid, an ambassador for Real Madrid and a legend of world football, he has become a sports-related businessman.
Robert Charles: At the moment, he works at the Real Madrid academy, and the Brazilian legend has coached teams such as Anzhi Makhachkala, Sivasspor, Ahisarspor and Delhi Dynamos.
Funk Seoul Brothers
Denilson: He came out of retirement a few days ago to sign with the “worst team in the world” after 12 years without playing.
Sol Ki Hyun: After a long career in Europe, I ended my career at the South Korean club Incheon United. Now he is the coach in charge of Gyeongnam.
Ronaldinho: His off-pitch life has been controversial, and he even spent several months in jail in Paraguay for having a fake passport.
Hernan Crespo: I played until 2012 before I became a coach. He was appointed by the Qatari Al-Duhail after previously managing Modena, Banfield, defense and justice and São Paulo.
Claudia Lopez: A Valencia legend, he retired in 2010 after an MLS adventure. He also tried his luck in rally driving.
Gaiska Mendieta: Hanging up his boots, he became a television pundit, an international La Liga ambassador and a DJ.
Thomas Roseki: He retired in 2017 at the age of 37 after suffering multiple muscle injuries. He is still associated with Sparta Prague as their sporting director.
Fabio Cannavaro: The 2006 Ballon d’Or winner moved to Real Madrid before returning to Juventus before ending his career at Al Ahly. He has a long coaching career in Asia and even played two games in China.
Ferdinand River: He has become one of the most popular television experts in the UK and also has his own YouTube channel.
Legacy of the Secret Tournament
Given the success of the campaign, Nike organized several 3×3 tournaments all over Spain, with a big organization in Madrid called Nike Parkwhich was located in the Matadero area of Legazpi.
Fernando Torres, Vicente del Bosque and basketball players like By Gasolparticipated in activities.