That’s because the boffins at Adidas designed the Telstar 18 to be resilient to excessive amounts of dip and swerve, which should make it harder for specialists like Ronaldo to reproduce the famous ‘knuckle-ball’ free-kicks he’s popularised over the years.
For the first time in a while, Adidas steered clear of marketing its latest World Cup ball as the “roundest ball ever”, instead claiming that it’s the most perfect equipment ever used in the game – the result of three year’s worth of hard graft.
If the name Telstar sounds familiar, it’s because Adidas has released a World Cup ball under that moniker before. Used during the 1970 World Cup, it was the first to feature black and white panels, designed to stand out on black-and-white TVs.
The Telstar 18 pays homage to the original Telstar, though there are a number of obvious cosmetic differences, the most notable of which is the introduction of six propellor-shaped panels to (apparently) result in a rounder surface finish.
Telstar is also the name of the world’s first communication satellite. That could be Adidas’ inspiration for baking an NFC chip into the consumer version of the ball, which is now available in brick-and-mortar stores.
- Buy Now: Adidas Telstar 18 Match Ball for £129.95 at Adidas
The World Cup ball has changed a lot over the years, starting off life as a rather cumbersome lump of leather, based on a truncated icosahedron. Modern balls, however, are much, much lighter and rounder, thanks to the introduction of new materials and shapes.
1958 World Cup football – Top Star
1962 World Cup football – Crack Top Star
1966 World Cup football – Slazenger Challenge 4-Star
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