For the most iconic stage, an iconic ball – Adidas unveiled the Telstar18 as the official match ball for next year’s World Cup in Russia and it’s one with a nod to the past, present and future.
The World Cup ball has been revolutionised by the German sports giant ever since their first at the 1970 tournament in Mexico.
Recent iterations like the Brazuca for Brazil 2014 and the infamous Jabulani for South Africa 2010 have used the host countries as a foundation for the design.
However, Adidas have opted to bring back a classic, unleashing the Telstar onto a 21st century audience.
The original, a 32-panel ball with 12 black panels on a predominantly white design was created to be more visible on black and white televisions.
The Telstar Durlast was a similarly designed version used in Germany four years later and it rightly lives within football folklore.
Among the many new features for Telstar18, the one which stands is out the embedded NFC chip.
It will be the first time the chip is ever used in an official match ball and enables consumers to interact with the ball using a smartphone.
Having gone through extensive testing with teams like Argentina, Colombia, Manchester United, Ajax, Real Madrid and Juventus you can be sure it’s one of the best yet.
And Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi gave the Telstar18 his seal of approval at a launch event in Moscow on Thursday.
“I was lucky enough to get to know this ball a bit earlier and I managed to have a try with it,” Messi said. “I like all of it: the new design, the colours, everything.”
Check out the gallery above to see all 13 of iterations of Adidas’s official World Cup match ball.
Messi also broached Argentina’s last-gasp qualification for the World Cup finals, which the Barcelona star sealed with a hat-trick in a rare 3-1 away victory over Ecuador.
“I always believed we’d get there, but I thought we would have tied up qualification before the Ecuador game,” said Messi, reiterating that he would like to end his career in his Argentinian birthplace of Rosario.
“I would love to play for Newell’s Old Boys, in the stadium where I’ve seen so many matches,” he said.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the coming years, how I’m going to feel. I live from day to day, I’m not focused on the future.”