Whenever I have a flashback to the late 70s growing up as a child in Wales, I have a very vivid memory of finding a leather soccer ball underneath the tree one Christmas morning. I remember sniffing the black and white checkered ball and smelling the strong scent of leather, as well as tracing my fingertips along the stitching which seemed quite intricate. Those memories still bring a smile to my face thirty years later.
Fast forwarding to this century, I decided to test the 2007/2008 Champions League Final ball to see how it compared to the balls of yesteryear. In fact, it’s been a few years since my soccer playing days have ended, so I haven’t had an opportunity to play with a professional ball since 2004 or earlier.
The Adidas Finale Moscow Match Soccer Ball seemed surreal to touch and hold especially knowing that it was a replica of the same ball used in the famous 2007/2008 final between Manchester United and Chelsea.
What surprised and impressed me the most was the thermal bonding technology that fuses the ball together and eliminates the need for stitching. Also surprising was how light the ball felt and the overall touch of the ball, which feels more like one of the plastic footballs I was used to playing with in the late seventies. The synthetic feel to it makes it feel like more of a ball for the masses instead of the soccer elite.
Kicking and passing the ball was a pleasant experience. The ball rolled across the grass smoothly and glimmered silver and gold in the sunlight of a hot afternoon’s day. It’s definitely an attractive ball to look at and majestic enough to sit on a mantelpiece, but it’s not too pretty to be struck across the pitch and into the back of the net.