Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Adidas Finale Munich - UCL ball
It's fair to say that our regular five-a-side ball has seen better days. Dog-eared and heavy with the rain of a hundred sodden encounters (or possibly the tears of a thousand spooned chances), it was becoming unplayable even for a bunch of Monday-night amateurs.
So it was a moment of much intrigue and no shortage of excitement when one of said amateurs arrived with an otherworldly orb in his hands this week; glowing neon yellow and blue like a beacon of heightened football expectation from another planet. The Adidas Finale Munich ball had landed.
'If it's good enough for Messi, it's good enough for us,' was the encouraging but somewhat misplaced statement of one of our mob when it was explained that the ball was in fact an earthly offering from adidas, to be used for this season's Champions League final at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena.
But before it goes on show in Germany in May (okay, it is in fact already being used in last-16 knockout matches), it graced the Rock's Lane pitch of Barnes, south west London.
The ball is typical of adidas' previous Champions League efforts, a high-quality product with the traditional star-panelled design associated with Europe's premier club competition. The bright, neon colour that immediately draws one's eye to the ball is quite brilliantly called 'Slime', but this offering is definitely more Netbusters than Ghostbusters.
It is both seamless and threadless, using thermal bonding technology to ensure it has a more stable flight (see Jabulani) and is not weighed down by rainwater. The ball is essentially the same as the one used for the 2010 Champions League final in Madrid, just with a couple of minor tweaks. The winner of this season's competition earns the right to use the ball in all of their matches in next year's group stage, too. A dangling carrot if ever there was one.
Out among the hustle and bustle of our Monday night kickabout, the Adidas Finale Munich ball did look a tad out of place, but playing with upgraded equipment does strangely seem to bring the best out of players. It is light and actually flies in the direction you want it to, meaning there were less gaffes and more goals than usual.
If you're willing to fork out a little bit of extra cash (it's available for around £80), it's well worth getting in on the act. And unlike this season's Champions League finalists, you will at least be guaranteed to have the ball to play with next season.