Erling Haaland

Icon launches “Ready, steady, play”: a special issue about the world of sport, the protagonists and the competitions of the summer, and a symbol of getting going again

Erling Haaland, the rising star of European and world football, is the protagonist of one of the four special covers and an exclusive interview

“Football is a mirror of life,” the football agent Mino Raiola tells Icon

Icon, the Mondadori Group’s male lifestyle and fashion brand, is launching “Ready, steady, play”, a special issue to talk about and celebrate sport, as a symbol of re-emergence and a new style of life, and the worlds that surround it: fashion and sportswear, to coincide with the opening of the Milan Fashion Week, wellbeing and new technologies.

The special issue, on newsstands from 19 June, will be a homage to vitality, positivity and the rediscovery of the joy of living alongside others. It will have four different covers featuring protagonists of the summer’s most important sporting events – from football’s Euro 2020 to the Olympic Games – and the athletes of emerging disciplines, offering readers a different vision of sport and the re-birth that it represents.

 “A new season is opening up for everyone, that’s what we hope and our way of experiencing sport could really become a symbol of the re-emergence that is on the horizon and an agent of social change,” said the magazine’s editor, Andrea Tenerani.

 The issue opens with an exclusive conversation between the editor of Icon and Mino Raiola, the ‘king’ of football agents, who the magazine asked about the values that underlie sport: “Inclusion, equality, the need for a level playing field and to learn to work and live together regardless of where one comes from: football is a mirror of life. These values, which are fundamental for football, are also fundamental for society and in the daily life of all of us”, he told Icon. Raiola also explained to the magazine edited by Andrea Tenerani his view about his work over the years: “I leave it to the players and my family to judge me, if they are happy, then I’m happy too. And then, as we say in such circumstances, if you choose a job that you love, you only have to work one day and you’ll never have to work another day in your life”, concluded “the man behind the success of some of football’s greatest talents of the age”. 

One of the stars of one of the four Icon covers is the football player Erling Haaland. A rising star of European and world football, Haaland talks about himself in an exclusive interview, conducted in partnership with The Daily Telegraph and leading sports journalist Jason Burt. The Norwegian striker confesses to the magazine that his great obsession is the Champions League. He started following it when he was a little boy and made his first appearance on the small field near his home at the age of 19 where he immediately made his mark. “I used to watch the matches when I was very young: I don’t remember when the Champions League wasn’t a part of my life. There were some great teams with legendary top-scoring players. My dream became that of playing in the Champions League and scoring lots of goals. It’s the tournament where the best players play: that’s their place”. And he also admits how important it is to win, “It’s my biggest dream!”

Icon also has a cover dedicated to the Azzurri who in these days are engaged in Euro 2020: the magazine met the Italian national football team, led by manager Roberto Mancini, in Coverciano where they posed for an exclusive photo shoot in the uniform designed by Giorgio Armani for Emporio Armani.

The collaboration between Icon and Bruce Weber continues and in this special issue the outstanding American photographer returns with a more than 20-page feature with portraits of emerging athletes, including, exclusively, Sean O’Malley, also known as Suga, the most promising fighter of the new generation of fighters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and protagonist of one of the issue’s covers.

Icon also gives space in this sports issue to the rising stars of Italian sport and the disciplines making their debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The magazine has selected as the symbol of this generation of young stars, who have been called upon to establish the new rules in their respective disciplines, Ludovico Fossali, the speed climbing champion, captured by photographer Giampaolo Sgura and another protagonist of one of the covers of this special issue of Icon.

The new issue features many talents, personalities and exclusive stories. Including Milena Bertolini, manager of the Italian Women’s Football Team who in the pages of Icon talks about what is happening today in women’s football, and Donyell Malen, the PSV Eindhoven star, photographed during a fashion shoot. And then there is basketball, with P.J.Tucker, one of the outstanding players of the NBA season.

The sports issue will also be on Instagram and on the Icon web site, which has recently been completely redesigned, where, throughout the summer, the brand will continue to cover sport as a symbol of a general re-birth with interviews, exclusive content and updates about competitions and athletes.

With a 22% increase in the number of advertising pages in the first half of the year, compared with the same period of 2020, and total revenues, print and digital, up by 20%, Icon confirms its position as the market leader in the male lifestyle segment.