Ex-Barcelona player Aleix Vidal looks to have paid the price to wearing cardboard instead of shinpads during Espanyol’s La Liga draw against Real Betis on Sunday – having been left with a bone-exposing cut.
The 32-year-old, who can play as a right-back or a right-winger, started the game for Vicente Moreno’s side, and was even on hand to score the opening goal in a 2-2 draw.
However, Vidal was forced off after 81 minutes after discovering that his bone was exposed under his sock, with a close-up appearing to show paper where others would wear a piece of rubber or plastic.
Described as a ‘minor injury to the tibia’ by Spanish media, the one-time Spain international did not play a part as his side took on, and beat, Alaves on Wednesday.
Vidal is said to have received 15 stitches by the previous report from Diari de Tarragona, despite him wanting to continue playing after the injury was discovered.
There has been a growing number of players that wear almost non-existent shinpads in recent seasons, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin jokingly likening his own to custard creams on Twitter.
Jack Grealish is another player to favour a smaller design, as well as wearing his socks very low throughout fixtures for Aston Villa and now England and Manchester City.
In an interview with GQ he said: “People have suggested a lot of different reasons as to why I wear them like that.
“It began during one season when I was 15 or 16 and the socks in training kept shrinking. I had to wear them underneath my calves and that season I ended up playing really well.
“So I ended up keeping them like that and to this day I’ve still got them. My shin pads are kids size, seven to eight, so that’s why they’re so small.”
According to the IFAB Laws of the Game 2021-22, shinguards must “provide reasonable protection” and be covered by the socks, while also being made of a “suitable material”.
While that would rule out actual custard creams, there seems to be some bending of the rules by stars who would rather have freedom of movement than protection of their shins.
If Vidal’s injury, stitches and current time on the sidelines are anything to go by then we could be seeing some bigger designs in future match-weeks.