He plays Playstation with some of the biggest football stars in the world at their hotels before big matches, and helps the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, and Zlatan Ibrahimović express themselves, meet 39-year-old Croat Denis Deković...
Deković, who was born in the Croatian seaside town of Poreč, is the director of design for Nike Football, and the man in charge of designing boots for the world’s top players. The nature of Deković’s job means he spends a lot of time with the stars of the game.
“We really spend a lot of time with players, we build those relationships, like we spend times playing Playstation at the hotels before games with the Brazilians. You really need to spend time with them, to build those strong relationships so that the player opens up to you. I have spent the most time with Zlatan and Matterazzi, but my favourite is Neymar. He was just as interested in working with us as we were with him.” said Deković, who has been at Nike since 2005 and the director of design since 2010.
Deković says a lot of thought, detail and work goes into designing a new boot, with experts in Italy and Asia helping with everything from material to colour and style. As a result, Deković says there are lots of people who now collect football boots, as they not only have become a boot, but a cool, design object. Deković says with the players having no say in the strip they wear, boots are a way a player can express himself and his style on the football pitch.
Deković, who was a keen drawer ever since he was a school kid in Croatia, says he gets inspiration from a number of things, but says that the energy of the Brazilian players gives him energy to be creative. Deković moved from Croatia at the age of 19 to take up a job with Italian sportswear company Lotto, before taking up a job with Nike in Portland, USA, where he is based today.